Getting published is an important step on the ladder towards an academic career and something lots of people consider as they’re undertaking their PhD. It looks great on any CV, peer or open reviews of your work can help improve your research, and even the process of just writing will help improve your academic writing skills.
To help you explore your options, over the next few months My Research Essentials is running a series of workshops to help you get started, from ‘Managing your Orchid‘ to ‘Choosing a credible journal‘. If you’re thinking about how to go about getting published or think you might want to at some point, take a look at what’s on.
Don’t forget that the Library offers lots of support
Even if you can’t make the workshops, there’s plenty of resources as part of the suite of resources available all year. Take a look at Pathways to publishing pages which is full of resources to help PGR students demystify the process, with resources, tool kits and plenty of advice.
In the meantime, here are a few things to think about:
By far the most obvious choice is to try and get published in a journal. As well as the workshop mentioned earlier, a good source of advice is your supervisor or another academic in your department, as they can tell you where you might have a chance of getting published or which journals aren’t worth submitting to. Whilst an obscure journal might seem a good idea, its reputation might not be; so it’s good to consult someone in the know.
Once you’ve decided where to submit to, you need to think carefully about the article and how it fits in with the journal, to increase your chances of getting published. Also, make sure to read the style and referencing guidelines because this changes from journal to journal.
Remember that competition is stiff and often you’ll be in competition with experienced academics. Therefore rejection is not uncommon so try not to be disheartened. If you receive feedback take it on board, not only for redrafts but also, if your article originates from your thesis use them in that too.
If this seems intimidating, don’t worry. An article rarely starts life as such and so a good first step is to look at other ways of getting published and over time you’ll probably see your work develop into an article ready for a journal.
Journalism, blogs and other online content
Another great place to get published – that might save a long wait – is through online journals or blogs. If you do your research then it is likely you will find a blog that publishes academic content in your subject area. These blogs are often related to current affairs, but keep in mind that your deadline will be much shorter. Online blogs are also more willing to publish young academics. Getting involved with these is a great way to get your work out there, with less stringent guidelines, as well as helping to build your network and improve your reputation. The writing experience can also be put on your CV and will look great even if you apply for a job outside of academia.
Conference papers are often a good place to start. Not only are they a great way to network with other academics but are also brilliant for trying out new ideas. Many conferences have journals associated with them or publish papers in a journal afterwards, which means you’ll get to put both on your CV. One important thing to consider is where your work will be published after – some journals have a better reputation than others. You also need to be practical; for example your topic will need to fit to the conference theme, and you need to be able to attend if successful – there’s no point submitting to a conference in America if they won’t pay for your flights.
Alongside conferences, book reviews are a great place to start. You probably have more chance of a review being published if you review a recently published book. It’s worth considering the book you want to review carefully. If you want to review it just because it’s interesting then you are going to be looking at a considerable distraction from your core work. However, if the book is beneficial to your research a book review offers double benefit of progressing your PhD and also hopefully helping you to get your ideas out there.