For about five years, I have been giving “How to get published” presentations with Routledge Books Publisher, Philip Mudd, at campuses and conferences all over the U.K. Philip tells everyone how to write and present the perfect book proposal, and I go through the process of submitting a manuscript to a journal for peer review. We tease out the major differences between the two and give academics a much clearer understanding of publishing in general.
In September, we gave our “How to get published” presentation at the Consortium for Research Excellence Support and Training (CREST) Summer School and at Leeds Beckett University. The questions we received reflect many of the current concerns researchers have when they are thinking about publishing their work.
Many questions centred on the peer review of journal papers, the fairness of the process, and the time it takes. It was suggested that clearer guidance from reviewers and editors would help solve this problem, managing researchers’ expectations and helping them understand what was happening with their paper as it went through the peer-review process.
There were also questions about how researchers can promote their published books and journal articles using social media. We both stressed that authors should help to drive readership and usage of their work, with the aim that this would lead to it being cited by others. I stressed that the measurement of citations is often used (sometimes wrongly) to measure quality, whilst Philip highlighted the fact that titles were becoming boring. Helping researchers understand that they need to get the key words into the title early, so the paper or book can be found by relevant search engines and archives is crucial. Titles like “You can’t see the wood for the trees” are only useful if you are actually writing an article or book on forestry.
There were also a lot of queries about open access and how researchers could acquire funding to pay the Author Publishing Charges. Many were unsure how to find out if an open-access journal had any status and some attendees reported being “pestered” by companies and journals willing to waive all fees to get papers. There were also worries that some open-access journals seem to accept and publish papers with little or no peer review. I stressed that if a journal was published by one of the major publishing houses it should be fine. However, every researcher should check thoroughly before submitting a paper. At Taylor & Francis, every article submitted to an open-access journal goes through rigorous peer review.
The feedback we received after the workshops suggests that these academics now have a better idea of the publishing process. We hope such workshops will in turn help you when researchers submit their paper to your journal, as they better understand the steps every paper goes through on its route to being published.