Important Advice for People Who Want to Publish Research

Choose the journal where you will submit your piece before writing it and peruse the submission guidelines attentively. Otherwise, you will have so much revision to do, you will be bogged down in it forever.

I just made the mistake of deciding what journal to submit to (which was decided with the kind help of my colleague Jonathan) after the piece was ready. And then it turned out that they accept 20 pages maximum. I cut down the article as much as I possibly could but I still have 21 pages with bibliography.

Also, if you think you might decide to publish overseas, then remember that you will have to overhaul the bibliography and the citation format completely. British journals, for example, have a completely different standards for the bibliography than American journals.

So choose the journal and only then start writing.

P.S. Probably everybody already knows it and I’m just inventing the wheel, as usual.

4 thoughts on “Important Advice for People Who Want to Publish Research

  1. No problem re inventing the wheel you would be surprised how many of us have done it and how to plan to get something published isn’t something that IMO is well taught.

    Here are a few things that fit my area:

    1) First establish where you are going to attempt publishing the material. Is your paper a good fit for the journal/conference? Look at past journals/proceedings to get a good idea. Look at who is on the committee of any conference they will probably handle the bulk of reviews. Do you recognise their work? If not maybe you are either new to the field or this is a sign that the conference isn’t really a good fit for your work. Given your idea has any merit choosing the correct forum can dramatically increase the chance of publication. Sometimes you might need small ideas published so that you can refer to them in a larger work, it is ok if these are published in an area tangential to your main work and can sometimes be easier to achieve.

    2) Many conferences and journals have different styles, by and large conferences want ready to publish papers. Download the style files etc before you start writing. These still won’t necessarily give you any idea of conventions on spelling or grammar. Find out if there is a style guide referred to and get a copy. If you publish overseas you might have to consider what version of English is used. Is it civilized or civilised? harbor or harbour? where should you use which and where should you use that ?

    3) Use Latex. You will find the flexibility in type setting will more than pay for the steep learning curve. It will definitely allow you to squeeze that little extra space to fit the page limit.

    4) With conferences there is usually only a short time between a call for papers and final submission dates. Upload a draft early so that you can make sure it passes any online checks for format. Sorting this out at the last minute can be very stressful.

    5) For conferences reviewers usually donate there time for free they don’t have much time make sure your paper is easy to read. Define terms before you use them, signpost where you are going in the introduction, even if the detail is dense make sure the general idea is easy to follow by maintaining a narrative and signposting. This means the reviewer can get a grasp of the general idea quickly. If they think that is interesting they can delve deeper on a second read. The alternative is to risk alienating the reviewer by producing a paper that requires close inspection to decide upon its merit.

    6) You don’t need to signpost anywhere near as much in a journal paper.


      1. LaTeX is a document preparation system.

        You will find that many journals use this format internally even if the accept Word format documents from authors. Because it is a real typesetting application even plain text has a more published look.


  2. Helpful programs for keeping track of references and for automatically formatting to a variety of templates:
    Endnote (general purpose)
    Papers (sciences)


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