Path toward Academic Publication


1.     Read widely and critically in your field and area of topic interest

2.     Listen to/ read experts in those areas, paying particular attention to method

3.     Generate good idea

4.      Run alleged good idea by those qualified to judge it best

5.     Write paper (usually 15-25 pp seminar paper or capstone chapter(s) will be the foundation on which to rebuild a manuscript)

6.     Revise and shorten paper’s thesis idea for conference presentation; write abstract

7.     Give ideas further public hearing by presenting at a conference

8.     Gather feedback from auditors and readers

9.     Select a venue that fits the topics and interests. Here it helps to explore the entries in the MLA Guide to Periodicals, to see journal names in your field, how many essays they receive, how many they accept, what the time and process of submission is.

10.        Read sample issues of your chosen venue to see typical length, style of argument, presence/absence of current methods and theories as a direct topic

11.        Rewrite the paper as a manuscript of usually 6,000-10,000 words, carefully following all formatting guidelines as specified by the particular journals submissions page. MLA may not be the format of choice, since Chicago Manual of Style  is just as common

12.                         Proof the manuscript as if your life depended on it.

13.                         Submit the manuscript (however many copies they wish) usually as a file these days. Optional to send a cover letter or email.

14.                        Look for postcard or email confirming receipt of manuscript

15.                         Wait much longer than you ever want to while the manuscript goes through these typical stages:

a)     Initial quick review by editor  b) lengthy review by referees, can take up to 6 months for all reader reports (2-3) to get back to the editor. For some journals with 3 readers all 3 must agree to accept for it to be accepted.  Reader reports may come as separate files/texts or be a combination of remarks in a file and end comments. They are anonymous.

Their Decision:

·        If accepted, wait for them to send you the page proofs to correct and reformat for camera-ready copy—common these days with editorial staffs much smaller than formerly.  Correct and resubmit file, often with abstract and brief biography.

·        If accepted provisionally sort out the referees/readers’ comments into corrections that obviously must be made vs. ones you might not wish to change depending on what you wish to argue.  If they say to read this, add this, do it. Resubmit the corrected manuscript. Typically at this stage you also have to do the final formatting yourself, often involving using Word to change spacing or placement of number of footnotes, or to correct for house style (e.g. British or Canadian vs. US English).

·        If rejected seek advice to determine if you just got a bad batch of readers or if they were right and there’s some problem in the argument or research.