Getting Published in Journals — Ten Things You Wanted to Know but Dared Ask!

Getting Published in Journals — Ten Things You Wanted to Know but Dared Ask!

Presented by Professor Cathy Urquhart, Research Director at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Research Wednesdays @ MMU

February 19, 2014


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    Getting Published in Journals – Ten Things You Wanted to

    Know but Never Dared Ask! Cathy Urquhart (
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    •  My experience in journals •  Why publish in journals?

    •  10 Things You Never Dared Ask 2 Outline
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    •  Senior editor for MIS Quarterly. MISQ has an impact

    factor of 4.83, the highest of all business journals •  Been involved with MISQ since 1998 as reviewer, Associate Editor and then Senior Editor •  Most Developmental Associate Editor award with MISQ in 2007 •  Associate Editor for Information Technology for Development, and International Journal of E- Politics •  Co-editor of special issues for Information Technology and People, the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics, and Social Business My experience of journals 3
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    •  Better than a conference in terms of quality of

    output – increasingly, conferences don’t ‘count’ •  Satisfaction in knowing that your work is read by colleagues around the world •  Knowing that your research has an audience – research is only finished when it is published! •  Your publication list is pretty much the only institution independent element on your cv •  Also a way to find collaborators – people may approach you because of something you have published •  REF2020 – 60% outputs (25% impact, 15% environment) Why publish in journals? 4
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    •  First piece of advice – be nice J • 

    Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate! •  Have a publication plan, with dates •  Key is to have papers at different stages •  Collaborate with senior colleagues – it’s a win win for them, as they are time starved, but can give valuable feedback and shape the paper for publication •  Collaborate with peers and junior colleagues •  Collaborate with research students 5 Question #1 – How do I build a publication pipeline ?
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    •  Another piece of advice – be brave! Most people

    target too low rather than too high (but be realistic) •  The better the quality journal, the better the feedback. •  Pay attention to the ABS list – 2* or above •  Submit a cover letter explaining what the paper does and suggesting reviewers •  Do you know the editors? •  Are you familiar with the type of paper they publish? 6 Question #2 – Where should I target my paper?
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    Question # 3 – How do I avoid basic mistakes?

    •  DO make sure your grammar, spelling, English etc is perfect. If necessary employ a proof reader. Sometimes reviewers don’t have the time or patience to look past bad presentation •  DON’T reference yourself – it’s seen as vanity, and also not very scholarly if the only source is yourself!
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    •  Fourth piece of advice – be patient, but not

    too patient! •  Typical structure in a journal is Editor in Chief, Senior Editors, Associate Editors and Reviewers •  Single blind or double blind reviewing •  All done by a community of scholars on a voluntary basis, don’t hesitate to follow up if you don’t hear from the journal Question #4 – What does the editorial process involve?
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    Question #5 – How do I deal with a revision

    •  Another piece of advice – be polite to your critics J •  Make sure you prepare a detailed memo showing how you have addressed all the key points the reviewers have made •  This memo should address all the points made by reviewers, even the irrelevant ones.. •  Be polite and constructive, even if you have not addressed the more ridiculous points •  Be guided by the Associate Editor as to which points are more important to address •  Include a covering letter outlining the main revisions
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    •  Another piece of advice – leave your ego at

    the door J •  Reviewers are subjective. Some may have had a bad day/evening when reviewing your paper. Some are routinely nasty. •  If it’s an outright rejection, take what you can from the reviews, and send the paper out again to another journal with some revisions. Question # 6 – How do I deal with negative reviews?
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    Question # 7 – How can I deal with a

    rejection? Calmly consider which category the rejection falls into •  Seriously flawed research •  Flaws in the presentation (poor language quality, poor organization, problems with analysis or conclusion) •  Submission to an inappropriate journal •  More subjective reasons (tastes of an individual editor, recently published articles on what was felt to be too similar a subject, over subscribed special issue etc).
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    Question # 8 – How can I maximise my chances

    of success? •  Another piece of advice – be optimistic! •  Special issues often have a higher rate of acceptance, and sometimes a lower standard, because they are exploring new areas (but sometimes can be oversubscribed) •  Be prompt about submitting revisions – a revision is a gateway to an accept! •  Eg only about 20% of MISQ manuscripts are actually reviewed –to get a revise often means you will get published – may take 1-2 years and 3 revisions
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    •  The peer review process is subject to bias –

    in the same way that, when we interview someone for a job, we are likely to appoint someone like us.. •  Team up with someone who is not subject to the same prejudice – they may already be part of the network •  Contact a researcher who has overcome the same bias as you – they will probably be willing to help •  Choose journals who have published papers by researchers subject to the same bias as you Question # 9- How can I even the playing field? 13
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    •  It’s simple – just do the maths •  If

    you aim to have 2 papers published a year, and you think you have a 1 in 2 chance of getting accepted, then you need 4 papers under review. •  As the acceptance rate goes down for higher journals eg for a 20% acceptance rate, and 4 papers a year published, you would need 20.. •  In practice people diversify – need a combination of higher and lower ranking journals to keep a healthy output going. Question # 10 How do I achieve a healthy volume of papers to be published? 14
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    In Conclusion •  Publishing is an activity like any other

    academic activity – the more you do, the easier it gets •  Important to understand that it’s a subjective, peer reviewed process, and to work with critiques rather than taking it personally •  Open access is a new challenge – open access increases citations, but the quality of some open access journals is in doubt – use the institutional repository to lodge your author copy Thursday, 13 March 14 15