Boost Your Academic Publications
Go for it—in your own privacy get wild and crazy with your writing—but when it’s time to rein it in, publishing in a top press like Princeton University Press or in the top journals in your field, or pretty much anywhere in academia has some structures in place and if you keep these 14 Tricks in mind it will go a lot smoother for you.
Creating an article that can be published in an academic journal could be a frustrating ordeal, ironically, for the thinker with great ideas. Nevertheless, developing a vast archive of your distributed life works and opus is important if you intend to realize those inspirations and follow your dreams to be successful as an academic and/or researcher. But luckily you still have to focus on creativity and for that you’ll like the first trick:
1) Be Different and Original or even New
Without a cool thought things go nowhere. However, it is not hard to have one. While no journal will take interest in your project if it doesn’t present fresh or new ideas, it does not take much to make it different.
Published and prominent journal articles do both of the following two things: recap and advance. A good essay writer will position themselves within existing debates in the literature review as well as develop on existing work in the field. As it has been put, you should “stand on the shoulders of giants.” But don’t take a crap on the head of the person whose shoulders you are standing on (I heard that somewhere, can’t remember but it’s so true). Utilize current work so that you are acting on a firm starting platform. And then all you have to do is simply drive the conversation just a little further and discover new items of discussion.
New writers generally take a wrong turn in this. Your work has to hit a balance between saying anything new and at the same time being grounded in the existing pool of information and literature to become attractive to an editor. You won’t get an acceptance letter if you fudge existing work to fit your new agenda, or if your new argument is just a huge jump in an unrelated direction to the current literature. It’s a balance. On one hand, it’s insufficient to only review or summarize the existing literature on a particular topic. To create a great article, this can be just the starting place: the real stand-out things come when you use the prevailing literature to ascertain new concerns and then attempt to address them.
On the other hand, remember to “stand on the shoulders” but don’t jump off too far unless you are sure you can stick the landing! Remember, your discussion doesn’t need to be completely new to become exciting or fresh, it only must be authentic enough to make a contribution to what’s already out there.
- 1 Boost Your Academic Publications
- 1.1 1) Be Different and Original or even New
- 1.2 2) Now get your story straight for yourself and ask yourself these questions:
- 1.3 3) Target the Sweet-Spot Journal
- 1.4 4) Study the Structure in journals in your area of expertise
- 1.5 5) If there is a specific convention that you hate to put in your article, consider doing it anyway for the greater good.
- 1.6 6) SMART goals: Establish specific writing goals and targets
- 1.7 7) Outline profusely, and freakin’ write already
- 1.8 8) Get responses from trusted people from the beginning to the end of the process
- 1.9 9) Do pre-writing before you write
- 1.10 10) Take Notes on Reviewers’ feedback on your submission.
- 1.11 11) Be unflappable, develop a hard outer shell, and don’t be high-strung, if you can.
- 1.12 12) Compose in the Company of Others
- 1.13 13) Exercise Self-care and Rejuvenation.
- 1.14 14) At the very least, tell all your friends about your publication after it’s out!
2) Now get your story straight for yourself and ask yourself these questions:
What is your point and purpose? What do you care about? Are you writing for advancement or a career assessment review? Or to really change how people see the world? Who do you wish would read what you write? Are you writing to have an impact on the field, or to change the world, or to get a result for your life situation? We all have a combination of these motivations– it’s all good!
Do you want to develop a presence or track record in certain academic genres? Have you taken their impact styles and practices and typical structures and modes of composition into account?
Knowing these things will help you keep the direction and motivation you will need to publish over the long term.
Have you studied other researchers in your area – Where have they released their work recently? Which conversation or debate or which group can you see yourself joining and which do you stand against?
3) Target the Sweet-Spot Journal
It could be tempting to send your draft to a high-prestige journals within your field. Everyone wants to know how to write a journal article fast so that they can get published in the top journals. These are the venues which you and your colleagues are very well acquainted with and those that you’ll notice introduced over-and-over again inside the literature that you read.
If you’re choosing the journal to focus on, ideally, you will significantly raise the probability of scoring your first publication if you choose something very doable. Remember, the top professional journals are exceptionally competitive and you might just want to get on a publication roll rather than struggle to break in.
Those who are still working on degrees should think about submitting articles to your sub-field first. The smaller, more specialized ones are good spots to begin to build your record while at the same time increasing your understanding of the publication process and obtaining feedback on your ideas.
When choosing a journal, you would like to take into account two components: evaluation schedules and policies on submitting the same article to different locations. You must expect most feedback to get back to you in several months, or more! Meanwhile, many magazines don’t accept an article for evaluation that is simultaneously being evaluated by another journal.
Because of this, the rate of publication that is your aim is particularly important because it’s not useful to submit the same work to numerous publications. If you aren’t thinking about waiting a ginormous amount of time, or longer, to get a response back from many publications, start out by targeting a journal that’s prone to say yes. You’ll have a better chance of getting more publications under your belt in the future with a quicker premier like this.
4) Study the Structure in journals in your area of expertise
Take a few journals in your discipline, browse them and hold them in your hands if you can. Some you will target in short time, some right now now. Scan all the abstracts over the past few issues. Analyze them: look closely at all last and first sentences. The first sentence (generally) gives the justification for the research, and the last asserts a ‘contribution to knowledge.’ What two sentences will you begin and end your abstract for that journal?
Skim and scan other sections of the articles: how are they structured? Do you know where the argument is stated? Can you see an emerging taxonomy of writing conventions in this journal?
Choose two kinds of paper to study from your journal: one which you can cite in your work, thus joining the research conversation that is continuing in that journal, and one that’s the kind of paper you’ll be able to use as a model for yours.
Can you decide which one will work best in your paper and define the various kinds of papers and distinct structures?
5) If there is a specific convention that you hate to put in your article, consider doing it anyway for the greater good.
Sometimes your readers’ imaginations are limited. You have to pander to them. For those parts, set a timer for 15 minutes and crank out little bits of the parts you are reluctant to do. Don’t work hard and long on it! And don’t use up your precious word space on that stuff. But dowhatyagottado.
6) SMART goals: Establish specific writing goals and targets
Writers who write regularly set targets and goals for every time they sit down to write. Make sure these goals are doable! You can make your writing goals based on word count when drafting, and use time goals when doing other work like editing and revising. This means not having a writing goal like, ‘I’m gonna finish this article this Summer’ but I’m going to revise for 25 minutes or ‘My next writing goal will be to summarize one book for page 3 on Monday before 11am.’
If there are no specific and measurable goals, there are no goals. Goals that work need to be countable, and you need to monitor the extent to which you achieve them. This is how you learn to set realistic targets and keep them. Nothing succeeds like success.
7) Outline profusely, and freakin’ write already
Productive writers pre-write, but they don’t expect it to be pretty right away. Which kind of writer are you: are you planner or pantser? Flying by the seams of your pants is fun. Try it, but just as a warm up, usually. Both pantsing it and planning are not futile, and it is therefore advisable to make use of both. Yet, make your outline very flexible and be sure to outline the main segments and calibrate these with your target journal’s typical structures.
What types of sub-sections are typically used there? How long are the sections and the headings, usually? This will help you determine the content you want to include and exclude. Take your time on this. This is the perfect time for feedback.
8) Get responses from trusted people from the beginning to the end of the process
Feedback makes decisions so much easier. There are so many directions we can go. Even at the earliest stages, discuss your thought for a paper with two or three folks. And then very soon later get reactions to your draft abstract, you subsection, whatever. It’ll just take a couple of minutes for them to read such things and respond to them. Get feedback early and often! Do multiple revisions before you submit your article to the journal.
9) Do pre-writing before you write
Athletes warm up and so should you. While you are deciding what you want to write about, an initial pre-writing that works is to write for five minutes on the topic: “what do I most want to write about?”
Once you have started writing your article, use a variation on this question as a warm up– what writing for this project is now finished, and what do you want to do in the future? And even better, write a couple minutes on this question when you are done for the day. It’s a great way to get focused.
10) Take Notes on Reviewers’ feedback on your submission.
Write out a list of revision actions by taking notes on the feedback you receive. Leave out the excessive judgment or derision if it is in there (it often is). Use your notes, not their words. When you resubmit your article, draw on these notes and specify exactly how you have changed your work in response to the reviewers’ feedback. And if in the end your article is still rejected, it is still useful to have the comments to consult, and to work out why you got them and head that off before submission somewhere else.
Remember you reviewer could be a competitor or hold very different views on things. Feedback will help you improve your journal article writing, but sometimes it may seem vindictive or cruel. They can feel threatened or displace reactions to other work onto you. You should keep in mind that other people– including esteemed professors– still get their own rejections and may want to dish out more of the same. Meanwhile, anytime you get accepted, this should be celebrated with wild abandon, but not so wild as to prevent future writing.
11) Be unflappable, develop a hard outer shell, and don’t be high-strung, if you can.
This you can and will develop over time– or you may already have. Remember that academia is a highly critical place and not where you should go looking for affirmation and support and for you sense of self-worth. Find other more meaningful places for that.
12) Compose in the Company of Others
While writing can be a solitary activity, writing with others can help develop momentum. It can help you hone discipline and self-control to develop a habit of regular writing. But disconnect from email, phones, and the internet. Multi-tasking is a myth. Sorry, but if you believe yourself to be a good multi-tasker there is a high-probability that you are not producing as much as you wish you would. You can develop the concentration needed for academic writing. Multi-tasking simply won’t work for regular high-level journal article writing.
13) Exercise Self-care and Rejuvenation.
Writing is stressful on the body, and not really what it was designed for. Exercise at some point in the day and also take breaks– ideally at regular intervals– you can get a lot more done if you focus on writing but also exercise self-care. It is dangerous to your health if you don’t get up once in a while. Don’t sit there writing for more than an hour at a time. Just like professional sports, writing for academic journals is highly competitive. You have to take care of yourself like an athlete takes care of themselves. And remind yourself of your motivations that writing for academic journals is what you want to do– that your writing will make a difference in the discussion about the world today, and that it is essential to your career.
Broadcast Your Results
14) At the very least, tell all your friends about your publication after it’s out!
Get the word out on social media and any way you can, like in your email signature. It makes a difference and every little bit helps. Don’t be braggy, but if you put it in the right way, the others will be happy for you and will even help promote you. This also sets the tone for you emotionally so that you are happy to do it all over again!