Four Steps to Help Avoid Publishing Pitfalls

Four Steps to Help Avoid Publishing Pitfalls

The purpose of this blog is to share some of my publishing experiences as a means of providing practical yet motivating advice so you can try and avoid some of the inherent process pitfalls.  If your research agenda or professional plans are contingent on getting your next article published in a peer reviewed journal or perhaps as part of a book chapter or for any other prospective publishing endeavor, there are four steps that can help take the guess work out of the process. But even if you follow this advice, patience and tenacity are key to providing support while you prepare, search for, submit and await publication consideration.

Step 1: Know the Market

Even if you have a bona-fide rigorous and unique article ready for submission, the publication process always starts with the targeted publication first. What are their guidelines? What is their method of submission?  Do they have a formal submission website or do they accept unsolicited submissions via email? Be certain the publisher is reputable and meets your desired needs. If a peer reviewed journal be sure it is not on a predatory list. Search for markets that best match the rigor and topic of your paper. Tools like Questia might be beneficial and the Open Access Academy provides more tips on markets and article preparation.

Step 2: Proper Manuscript Preparation

Following the guidelines is so important. Every publication differs, but in most every peer reviewed manuscript it will be necessary to remove any information related to you as the author including information germane to the file proprieties identifying you as the author. This is needed for blind reviews. Aside from easily removing your cover page byline, you’ll want to remove any “Document Properties and Personal Information” identifiers.

  1. On a Windows PC navigate to “Info” under the File Menu.
  2. There you will find three box icon choices.
  3. Select the one labeled “Check for Issues” then select “Inspect.”
  4. Finally, select “Remove All” as identified in Figure 1: Removing Personal identifiers

Removing Personal Identifiers

Other process requirements relevant to many journal submissions may include the requirement of an Open Research Connection ID (ORCID) digital identifier. The ORCID number will allow you to build a database of your research that encapsulates your activities for future database use and is often associated with the Research ID developed by Thomson Reuters. Upon applying you will be given a permanent number associated with each. Archive this information for future required journal submissions.

Step 3: Use Criticism to Your Advantage

Tenacity should now be in play for it can take many weeks or longer before you are provided the results of the peer review. If you are contacted within several days, it is likely your piece has been immediately rejected as a poor match. While this may seem like devastating news, it could actually be a valuable exchange of information if the editor provides you feedback as to why. I have been fortunate to receive detailed and useful feedback on missing parts of a literature review, for example, and was provided the names of key authors and their works. I have been able to re-include such missing information, only to later resubmit to the same publication or another, where my work was eventually accepted.

Step 4: Lower Your Stress

Waiting for a review can be stressful. Working on your next effort can help, but if you still have trouble coming back down to earth, perhaps a little mediation can help? If you do yoga, for example, you may find it can create refuge during these long manuscript waiting periods. Perhaps my blog dubbed, Research Agenda Setting to Popular Yoga Poses might help. If you have not tried yoga or prefer not to, consider working out, swimming, or running/walking. Simply being active can reduce so much stress associated with getting your work published.

I hope these four steps will prove beneficial. Remember that patience and tenacity are the pathway to success. Feel free to reply here if you have any questions or your own tips to share. Best wishes for much publication success!


John Vassar's picture John Vassar | December 31, 2016 8:36 pm MST

Very useful article and leads ..... Thank you ......

Erik Bean's picture Erik Bean | January 3, 2017 1:08 pm MST

Thank you for your feedback John. If I can be of any further assistance in the process please let me know. Feel free to email me directly at  Best wishes for publication success!  -- Erik

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