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Posted March 31, 2014

Submitting to Journals as a Postgraduate

Submitting an article to a journal can seem daunting at first but since examiners give credit to a PhD according to how publishable it is, having already had some of it printed can only stand you in good stead.

Before you first put digit to keypad you need to decide which journal to aim for. The main points to establish are; how receptive it is to articles from new researchers, how long is the process for reviewing and publication, and how prestigious it is. The more sought after journals tend to have longer publishing schedules and can be pickier in their selections; which is balanced against a higher quality of feedback. Look at which journals might be interested in your subject matter and list them in order of preference; for your first submission aim around the middle of your list.

When preparing to write your piece it is essential to research the journal that it is intended for. The selection process can take several months and a perfectly sound article could be rejected if it does not fit the publisher’s criteria. Once you have selected a journal make a careful study of their submission guidelines; which might save you a lot of time making revisions at a later stage. Each publication will have its own requirements for format, style and referencing and of course the length. They will also let you know how they would like to receive it, hard copy or electronically. Some editors are open to receiving a brief emailed summary for subject approval, 8-10 lines, which can save a lot of wasted time and effort.

When you are ready to submit your piece it is very important to send it to one journal at a time, some will request confirmation that they have the sole application, and none will want to consider work that may be published elsewhere. The guidelines will let you know what needs to be included, the article, abstract and sample images. Once it is confirmed that you are to be published it is important to source the final images and sort out any copyright issues, as this process can be lengthy; the publication may be able to help with cost s.

The review stage can be quite drawn out, the editor will make their judgement first, and only if they are satisfied will it be passed on to a peer-reviewer, an academic with expertise in your subject matter. Do expect to be knocked back at your initial submission, it may happen that you are accepted first time but this is not generally the case; and it is best to prepare yourself in advance. This is where your choice of a journal that will provide good quality feedback is important. If the article is rejected carefully study the reviewer’s notes and feedback, so that the piece can be revised. These comments can be invaluable when revising your article, before sending it off to the next journal on your list.

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