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Tips to become published: over 100 of them

Things are moving ahead in these unusual circumstances. This time we will be looking at guidelines for getting your article published, in various ways. Let’s start with publications’ guidelines and policies, then move to some tips.

Are journal guidelines clear?

A Nature Index blog by Dalmeet Singh Chawla of England reveals a survey of almost 7,000 researchers found that guidelines and feedback proved to be confusing for over two thirds of them. Only 11% of the sample were native English speakers. For some, ethical considerations in publishing were unknown. This included what constitutes self-plagiarism (recycling passages with the same text they had published previously) and plagiarism, what level of contribution is needed to be considered a joint author, and why publishers disapproved of simultaneously offering the same study to more than one journal.

The survey showed cultural differences in how plagiarism is perceived. A marketing journal editor recently asked me to paraphrase several paragraphs of a method section where no attribution to the original author was made. As we could not come to an agreement, I declined.

Is there a tool for comparing journal policies?

The blog continues that Tony Ross-Hellauer of the Austrian Know-Center is collaborating on a database of policies for journals. This includes whether a journal allows researchers to prepublish so they can cultivate early interest in their research, before the final version is published by the journal. The source policy is listed for each database entry and although it takes a while to wade through them, there is a compare function for up to three journals at a time.

What are some of the better tips for getting published?

Ireland’s Niamh Brennan has come up with no less than 100 ideas for what she calls “the research rules of the game”, which might seem overwhelming. She emphasises that research design principles, conferencing and co-authoring must be complemented by convincing writing. “The quality of the writing is more than half the battle in successful publishing”.

Some of the tips help to develop simple and clear style. No. 67 is a favourite of mine (sequence your variables and constructs consistently). Others are more prescriptive. For instance, you can check with your intended journal whether the method should be in the present or the past (No. 57)   Also please be warned against overusing the active voice because sometimes this doesn’t make sense (No. 58). For instance, do not write as if your equipment or measurement tools did the research! While instruments measure, researchers analyse the results.

Section 5 has some great advice about the publication process.

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