Dissertation to Publication Workshop, Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to publish?  


As a Scholar, Researcher, and Doctor, you have achieved a high level of educational and scholarly expertise in your field of study.  In the research and scholarly community, you are expected to add value to the literature through scholarly research.  By doing so, not only do you make valuable research contributions to the scholarly community but you also develop greater expertise in your field.  Further, you help to add to your credibility as a serious researcher.  This becomes important not only in your career but also to fulfill expectations and requirements of academic institutions if you serve as a faculty member as many universities require that faculty members actively publish in peer-reviewed journals and/or present at conferences.  Becoming active in research and publishing also provides you with an opportunity to network and collaborate with other scholars which can serve to open doors for future opportunities.


How do I know what to include in my journal article based on my dissertation?


Once you know what the journal requirements are (e.g., word count, page count, sections), then spend time going through your dissertation to pull out the most pertinent details of your study for inclusion in your manuscript.  Focus on key points that are relevant for your article and not ancillary details that are unnecessary.  Also, focus on using references within the past 5 years to keep your article timely.  Continually edit and refine your manuscript to ensure you meet the journal’s requirements while still conveying the essence of your dissertation study results.  


Is a dissertation listed in ProQuest Database considered as a publication? Should I cite my dissertation in my journal manuscript?

Publishing a dissertation in ProQuest does not count as a journal publication. You do not need to cite your dissertation in your journal article.  You are just using the original research, which has not been published previously in a peer reviewed journal.  So, you are free to use the original research in your dissertation and submit to a journal without citing the dissertation.


Can I use a table or chart from my dissertation?

Yes, even though your dissertation is listed in ProQuest, that does not count as a publication, so you can use your own tables, charts, or figures from your dissertation.


Is it okay to include references to other dissertations?

Dissertations do not count as peer reviewed publications and the gold standard for references is current, peer reviewed, articles from scholarly journals.  So, you could use a few, very few references to dissertations.


What is the difference between editing and proofing an article?


Editing: Writers review and revise the structure, content, organization, and overall development of the article when editing.  The most important question in editing is whether you addressed the content.  A focused, careful review of the article to test the content against the purpose requires time and effort. Plan for uninterrupted, quiet time when you can maintain high levels of attention.


Proofreading: Writers review and revise superficial errors in punctuation, expression, and APA formatting when proofing or proof reading the article.  Some examples would be checking use of commas or semicolons, checking references to be sure that all citations are included in the reference list, checking to insure active rather than passive voice.


Can we use an editor to help with the final editing and proofing?


Sometimes, writers can get too close to their work to see simple errors.  The first step is to step away and take a fresh look at the paper in a few days.  Second, try reading the paper aloud.  Often, inconsistencies will become apparent when reading aloud.  A writer might also try asking a friend to read the paper and provide some feedback.  The feedback from a reader with a new set of eyes can be very useful.  An editor, especially a professional editor could be the final step.  An editor can be especially helpful for authors writing in a second language.  However,  writers can use an editor if desired to take that extra step in preparing an article for publication.


How does a cover letter fit into the online submission process?


The cover letter represents an important opportunity for authors and is usually required during the online submission process.  In the cover letter, the author(s) have an opportunity to explain why their article is suitable for this particular journal.  The cover letter also presents a first impression of the author(s) to the editor. Often, the journal will have a cover letter template, if they do; use the template. Take the time to develop a well-written and coherent letter that presents a strong first impression to the editors and presents a good rationale for the article as aligned with journal mission and aims.


Do the co-authors all need to sign the cover letter?

No only the corresponding author, who is often the first or lead author, needs to sign the cover letter.  Usually, the corresponding author will take care of the entire submission process.  Other members of the writing team will understand the process take time, energy, and accuracy.


What are some key points to keep in mind when writing a journal article?


Unlike a dissertation where you must write until you exhaust all avenues pertaining to your study, writing an article is much different.  First and foremost, you must carefully review the Author Guidelines for the peer-reviewed journal to determine key requirements such as formatting style (APA, Chicago style, Harvard style, etc.), word count or page count, any special requirements for the title, abstract, figures, tables, etc.  Do not go over the word count or page count specified.  Also, be aware that the word count or page count may or may not include the abstract, references, or appendix.  If unsure about the requirements, then email the editor and ask questions.  Some journals require that you use a template to write your article.  Some journals may require single-spacing.  Others may require a specific formatting style while others don’t have particular requirements.  You must ensure that your article aligns with these journal requirements otherwise the article could be rejected by the editor.  Also, you must also make sure that your topic is one that is relevant and of interest for the journal.  If you write about leadership but the journal is about education, then your article will not be of interest to the readership of the journal.  In addition, pay attention to deadlines especially if you are writing for a special issue or a call for papers. If the journal editor emails you back with questions or a request to do something, be prompt in your reply.  Editors are busy people and will appreciate your professionalism and responsiveness.   


Should I give up ownership of the copyright to my article?

Traditional scholarly publications do (generally) request and assume the ownership and duties associated with the copyright for an article.  One benefit is that individuals might not be able to mount a legal defense against plagiarism as effectively as the publisher, who has additional resources.  Another benefit is that traditional journals have a well-established distribution path that other scholars understand and use.


On the other hand, if you prefer to keep the copyrights, you can investigate an open-access journal, where the author might pay a publishing fee and then assumes both the ownership and duties associated with the copyright. Such journals are not necessarily predatory, but are following a different paradigm, where the financial support for publishing comes  not through subscription sales to libraries and institutions but through publishing fees paid by authors and others associated with research development. Be sure to check any open access journal on Cabells to assure the journal is not predatory.


Owning your copyright means that you can share your work wherever you wish without directing readers to go through a subscription access point. If you decide to keep your copyrights, and use an open access journal, then, you might also be interested in online communities like ResearchGate, where authors share their work with others.