The introduction is perhaps the most important section of an article, but unfortunately it can be notoriously difficult to write. To help make the process less painful and more productive, Meagan Kittle Autry, the Director of Thesis and Dissertation Support Services at NC State University, shared advice for writing exceptional introductions in a recent TAA podcast entitled How to Write an Introduction That Will Get Your Article Accepted. [Read more…]
Writing a compelling cover letter to submit with your manuscript is more important than most authors realize. After all, publishing, at its core, is still a business built on relationships. Tailoring your cover letter to the interests of the acquisition editor makes a good first impression. This is especially important if you have not had the opportunity to meet the editor at a conference or in some other venue.
Ironically, part of the power of a brief cover letter also relates to its short length. In this age of information overload, short pieces of writing have an impact disproportionate to their size. Their very brevity makes it more likely they will be read. To get the most out of this potentially powerful little document, consider the following tips shared by Amy Benson Brown, a writing coach with Academic Coaching & Writing and contributor to the ACW Academic Writing Blog. [Read more…]
Congratulations on learning English, the current lingua franca of international communication and the most difficult Western language to learn. I’m really glad it’s my native language. As a copy editor, I have worked for many years with scholars whose native language is not English. In 2008 I became house copy editor for the International Review of Public Administration, which at that time was published by the Korean Association for Public Administration and is now published by Taylor & Francis; more recently I took on the same role with Korean Social Science Journal. The majority of articles accepted for publication by IRPA and KSSJ are written by academics native in a language that is not English (with the majority of authors native in an Asian language). That work has led to my developing a specialty in working with ESL/EFL authors. [Read more…]
TAA Podcast – Millions of Articles, Thousands of Journals: How an Individual Scholarly Author Can Thrive in Today’s Scholarly Publishing Ecosystem
The changing scholarly publishing ecosystem provides new opportunities, and some perils, for scholarly authors. Listen to this session by Jeffrey Beall, “Millions of Articles, Thousands of Journals: How an Individual Scholarly Author Can Thrive in Today’s Scholarly Publishing Ecosystem,” recorded at the 2014 TAA Conference in Baltimore, MD, which addresses how authors can better expose, promote, and share their research to reach a larger audience and achieve greater impact.
Focusing on scholarly journals, it will update you on some of the problems associated with predatory publishing, such as research misconduct and the publication of pseudo-science. It will also help authors select publishers that provide greater added value to their work, such as basic copyediting and digital curation.
It is incumbent upon early-career academics to distinguish their research as mature scholarship, not student work. So as an editor who often works with junior faculty and recent PhDs, I’m always on the lookout for hallmarks of amateur writing that scholars can identify and excise.
Perhaps most academics can name some of the tics that unfortunately characterize graduate-student writing: overqualification, hedging, extensive literature review, and a high ratio of quotation to original material are just a few.
Another quirk I’ve noticed is that less effective manuscripts—whether they’re written by early-career scholars or not—tend to organize information into lists. That may not sound so damning, but lists become vulnerabilities when they are presented as arguments. [Read more…]
Writing journal articles can be demanding for an academic writer in any field, but authors seeking to publish their work in scientific journals face unique challenges.
Elaine Hull, a prolific writer in the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and Ushma Neill, an editor for The Journal of Clinical Investigation, offer the following advice for science writers:
- Find good coauthors. Collaborating with coauthors is often necessary to gain access to the equipment and experimental techniques you need to fully test your hypotheses, so it is very important to develop good relationships with colleagues. Hull urges writers in academia to seek out schools and departments with high levels of collegiality so it is easier to find collaborators.
- Start with your results section. When you’re ready to write, Neill recommends tackling the results section of an article first because what you end up including in the results section of the paper will influence what you need to discuss in the article’s methodology section and introduction. [Read more…]