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20 Ways to get published in an academic environment

Money, establishing tenure and a passion for ideas are just a few of the many primary and secondary motives for publishing, said sociologist Mark Schneider and linguist Joan Friedenberg, both of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Many of these motives, they said, can be fulfilled by different types of academic publishing. They have come up with 20 ways to get published in an academic environment. They are:

  1. Look at each of your academic activities as an opportunity to publish. Everything an academician does can and should be turned into a publication. A textbook is just one way of doing this, said Schneider. “In responding to the needs of my students I was writing the basis for a textbook,” he said.
  2. Publish your expertise in other fields. If your expertise is in helping English as a second language students, as Friedenberg’s is, find disciplines in which your expertise would be helpful. For example, an article on how to work with ESL students for engineering professors.
  3. Use other people’s work to get some of your own work out. Schneider and Friedenberg calls this “piggy-backing.” You can do this by commenting on someone else’s work or adding your own work to theirs.
  4. Think small. Opinion pieces, book reviews, letters to the editor and articles in newsletters will often get your name out in front of the public better than major journals in your field will. “This has made more people aware of me and has led to invitations to speak, etc.,” said Friedenberg.
  5. Take one publication and rewrite it to fit other fields who could benefit from your research. Schneider and Friedenberg call this “re-hashing.” Another technique they call “dribble,” is choosing smaller pieces of a larger project and creating niche articles for many different markets. Schneider cautions however, that if you are in a place where this is looked down on, don’t do it.
  6. Join with another author to create a publication that uses both of your competencies.
  7. Find someone who can look at your work before you send it out to a scholarly publisher and give you tips on improving it.
  8. Make a list of the journals you would like to be published in starting with your “dream” journal and moving down from there. That way, you have a plan of action if the first journal or second journal doesn’t accept your article.
  9. Make sure you are sending the article to the right journal. If you aren’t, you will lose a lot of time trying to get it published.
  10. Send a query letter to the editor to see if your article would be approved at that journal. It would save you several months waiting to hear from them.
  11. Follow the instructions required by the journal as far as formatting requirements, etc.
  12. Make sure your manuscript is free of errors and is written in an engaging style.
  13. Submit clean copy with nicely space margins.
  14. Write a letter that entices the editor to publish your article. Tell them why they should publish it.
  15. Send only one article at a time to each publisher.
  16. Be cooperative with your editor. If they want you to do something and it isn’t too major just agree to it.
  17. Keep a file of everything you’ve sent out and to whom.
  18. Be positive.
  19. Don’t give up. Just because you’ve gotten 10 rejections doesn’t mean the 11th won’t accept it.