How to extract articles from your dissertation

When I finally got around to writing my dissertation writing tree(that’s another story), I realized that its organization easily fell into several relatively self-contained chapters. Once I defended, I needed to convert as much of the dissertation to publishable articles as I could, for the “hound of tenure” was fast on my heels.

I realized that I had written each chapter with a possible article based on it already in mind. In philosophy one often takes on positions articulated by others, and seeks to attack them in a way that makes one’s own view more plausible and defended against those who would, or should, attack it. So, I “carved” the dissertation into three chunks and wrote them up as independent articles. I sent them to the same journals that had published the articles I was attacking, and they were accepted (usually subject to some revisions). Hence, my first three publications, followed by a fourth when one of my attackees sought to defend himself in print. Those, plus a couple of short pieces, secured a tenured appointment. [Read more…]

How to edit a collective volume of papers from a conference

A collective volume is often a written record of a single conferenceacademic writing or symposium, or a record of the “acta” or proceedings of a series of meetings of an organization, often annual, stretching over a number of years; or, finally, a festschrift offered as an acknowledgement of an individual’s professional impact over a significant period of his life. Festschriften are often occasioned by 65th or 70th birthdays, retirement, or other excuses.

Individuals edit such volumes for a variety of motives, ranging from that of the team player working selflessly to insure the success of a joint venture, to loyalty and devotion to a particular individual, to that of the academic hoping for a raise or promotion as the result of another notch on the CV. As with much of human affairs, you motive is probably a mixed one. [Read more…]

How to turn a seminar paper into a publication

academic journal stackThe Director of Graduate Studies for your department has made noises about “the professional turn,” namely, writing for publication and not merely to demonstrate to the professor what you know. While you had a vague idea of what was meant, this is the first indication you have that you may be in the turn. What do you do now?

Your first stop is a meeting with your professor. Ask where it is likely to be publishable. And ask what else needs to be done to the paper to make it able to pass review. [Read more…]