Tips for researchers – Lynn Hendriks

Publishing Journal Articles

Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is a central feature of academic life and is core to most researchers’ daily tasks. Given this centrality, it is essential that good choices are made over the course of the publication process. Here we share some key tips for getting papers through the publication process.

  1. Choose the journal before writing up the paper so that you can follow the journal guidelines (in terms of style, formatting, word limit, content and referencing conventions) from the outset.
  2. Use referencing software so that referencing formatting can be easily adjusted, should you land up submitting to a different journal in the end.
  3. It is useful to request a mentor or colleague to read the paper (especially if you are publishing as sole author) before you submit so that you get initial feedback before the paper goes into the formal review process.
  4. Ensure that the paper is well-written, coherent and edited for typos – this will increase the likelihood of the paper being taken seriously in the initial review phases.
  5. Be patient – the review process can take from up to a few weeks to a few months; this is not a function of your paper but rather the nature of journal reviewing processes.
  6. Do not be disheartened by receiving requests for minor or major revisions, followed by a resubmission – it is highly unlikely that any paper will get accepted in the first round of reviews.
  7. Do not be disheartened if your paper gets rejected – this could simply be a result of reviewers’ subjective biases or because your paper did not align to the theme of the journal; revise and submit your paper to another more appropriate journal if this is the case.
  8. On resubmission, write a letter to the editors that demonstrates how you responded to each of the reviewers’ comments; it is useful to do this comment by comment and to indicate the page numbers where you made adjustments. It is also useful to do the revisions in track changes or a different text colour so that it is easy for the reviewers to see the changes.
  9. During the final phases, read through the proofs carefully, looking for typos and errors.
  10. Once your article is published, make sure it is reflected on; Google Scholar and ResearchGate so that your work gets recognition.
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