Other publishing - journal articles, social media
This section provides a brief guide to the process of academic journal publishing, and how to successfully navigate the world of publishing. It also discusses how to use social media to communicate your research to a broader audience. Academic publishing is complex and there are many aspects to consider along the way as identified in the Authorship and Publication map (PDF, 857KB).
From what and where to publish to preparing, presenting and polishing your work for publication the Guide to Academic and Scientific Publishing provides the novice and experienced author with practical tips and advice on all aspects of getting published.
Getting published in a scholarly journal
In the beginning
Refer to the journal's 'guidelines for authors' to learn how to prepare a manuscript for publication including word count and citation format. Make sure your research aligns with the journal's mission statement, editorial perspective and audience.
When you submit an article for publication, you must confirm that the manuscript has only been submitted to the one journal and ethical clearance has been made for your research (if required). You must never submit a manuscript to more than one journal at the same time. It is professionally disrespectful to submit an article to be reviewed that you might then withdraw if your work is accepted for another journal.
Practical tips for submitting:
- Cite your QUT affiliation as 'Queensland University of Technology (QUT)'. See Authorship and publication and the QUT Author Affiliation Guidelines (PDF, 154KB) for more information.
- Cite your ORCID iD (as this will travel with the article metadata into the citation databases).
- State why the paper will be of interest to the readers of the journal if there is an opportunity to do so.
Once submitted, you will need to be patient as the process takes time. Editors read manuscripts to screen out unsuitable submissions and then pass the remainder to reviewers in a similar field of research. Quality journals will go through a "double blind" peer review which means that the author's name does not appear on the paper going to the reviewers and the names of the reviewers are not made known to the authors. It may be your responsibility to remove your name and perhaps acknowledgments to ensure anonymity.
Reviewers are generally given between three weeks to three months to review an article. Once all reviews have been returned, editors make a final decision and respond to authors via letter or email. If you have not heard from the Editor after six months, it is reasonable to contact the journal to inquire regarding your submission's progress.
Revising and resubmitting
The peer review process may identify weaknesses in your writing, your research methodology or your argument. Many high ranking journals will respond with a "revise and resubmit" letter to most manuscript submissions. Formally, the manuscript has been rejected at this point. However, if you use the reviewer's comments productively and revise your manuscript to incorporate suggested changes, then you have a strong chance of having the revised manuscript accepted for publication. Revised and resubmitted papers can result in more citations than first submissions (Ball, 2012). Try to reframe criticism in a positive way to see how the manuscript can be modified to improve the strength of your argument.
Your chances of being published improve if you respond quickly to the recommendations of editors and reviewers. Where the advice of different reviewers appears to conflict or where you disagree with comments, indicate that you have considered each objection or suggestion carefully and respectfully. When resubmitting, include an extensive cover letter:
- thanking the editor and reviewers
- identifying the main points of revision
- demonstrating how you have revised the manuscript to address concerns
- explaining areas not revised with substantial evidence to defend the original submission.
Social media provides alternative forums for publication outside the formality of scholarly publishing. Blogs and Twitter are accessible ways to engage a wider audience with your research, enabling them to respond, collaborate and comment and providing a more socially interactive way to work. They are also useful tools to get you into the practice of writing and self-reflecting on your research.
ResearchGate is a popular social networking site for researchers. It functions as a profile page, a communication space and a mechanism for sharing copies of publications with other researchers.
ResearchGate uses information in the profile to match the researcher to publications. If the researcher 'claims' a suggested publication, they are prompted to upload a full-text copy. However, when uploading a full-text publication to ResearchGate, the researcher assumes full responsibility for checking that the upload does not constitute an infringement of the publisher's copyright. Note that publishers have escalated legal battle against ResearchGate.
The recent report, 'Feeling Better Connected': Academics' Use of Social Media (PDF, 870KB) identifies the benefits, limitations, insights and strategic ways academics and postgraduate students are using social media to maximise attention to their academic work.
Activity – Practice promoting your research
- Write a 280 character tweet communicating an aspect of your current research to a broad audience.
- Write a 280 word blog post to outline your current research - be aware that this should be to an audience of peers but not scholarly in tone.
- Write a 240 word formal abstract outlining a potential journal article on your research.