Making publication decisions
On Monday, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion titled, “What Do Publishing Trends Mean for Academic Writers?” hosted by Janet Salmons at SAGE MethodSpace. During the discussion with panelists, Rebecca Y. Bayeck and Sharon Zumbrunn, we addressed the question “What is your decision-making process about what to publish?”
This question encouraged a lot of great discussion that centered around three key decision-making principles: interest, audience, and impact.
Zumbrunn probably said it best when she suggested that you should identify your interest by asking yourself, “What conversation do I want to be part of?” Social media makes it much easier to explore topics of potential interest and to connect with people already engaged in discussion of those topics. Exploring what matters to you personally and engaging in the conversation can lend to relevant topics for development and publication.
Without an audience for your work, publication opportunities will be difficult to find. Starting with an active conversation topic based on your interests helps ensure that an audience exists, so the next step in the process is to see where that conversation is happening in publications within your discipline. Look for journals that have the audience you want reading your work to make a contribution to your field.
While “impact” can be inferred in academic circles to refer to journal impact factors and scores, the decision to publish should be less about the citation score and more about influencing your field of study and society at large. Look for ways to expand your reach beyond academic circles to practitioners and interdisciplinary collaborators.
When considering this question of publication decision-making, I summarized my response in two words: What matters?
- What matters to you personally (your interest)?
- What matters to others in your field/discipline (your audience)?
- What matters to society at large (your impact)?
As you explore opportunities for publication now and in the future, be sure that what you write matters and you will surely find success.