How to Get Your Work Published as a Graduate Student

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Good academic research strives to increase and develop the amount of tested and reviewed scholarship available on any given subject. It is based on critical thought, extensive research, and analytical writing.

What is academic publishing?

Academic research and scholarship is generally published in the form of reviews, theses, books, or journal articles. It typically follows the guidelines, rules, and regulations of a particular discipline and is commonly subjected to a rigorous process of editing and peer review.

Getting Published as a Graduate Student Getting Published in Graduate School

Graduate students who wish to have their work published should begin working towards this goal early in their academic careers. They should consider writing book reviews, submitting papers to conferences, working with professors on research projects, co-authoring articles, and preparing a thesis or dissertation project geared toward publication. Most importantly, they should become familiar with the publication requisites in their particular discipline and develop their work accordingly. It is also a good idea for graduate students to find a mentor in their discipline—someone who can guide and direct their work, and give them specific advice for getting published.

What is the academic publishing process?

There are generally two phases involved in academic publishing: first, the author creates and submits a text for publishing. Once it has been accepted by a publisher and editor, it goes through a rigorous process of peer review and text revision. Once the editor is satisfied with the product, it is published. This process can take two months to two years depending on the research, the peer review process, and the publisher’s needs.

Five Tips for Getting Published in Academia

1. Identify the Gaps: 

Prior to writing about a subject or topic, conduct an extensive literature review to determine gaps in existing research on a particular topic, subject, field, or discipline. Once you have identified the gaps, determine the research and type of project best suited to address these gaps.

2. Consult with Faculty:

Work with graduate-level faculty to design a project addressing the gap and expand upon the amount of tested information available in the topic, subject, field, or discipline in a significant way.

3. Follow Guidelines:

Write your paper in accordance with the guidelines and rules for the discipline in which you hope to be published, and tailor your writing to fulfill the need of a targeted publisher. Consider the publisher’s audience, needs, history, and mission.

4. Network:

Start networking immediately—don’t wait until you are ready to find a publisher. Developing a publishing network and getting to know the organizations and people who may eventually publish your work often takes a long time and requires extensive effort. Contact potential publishers, attend conferences, and work with professors who have contacts in the publishing field.

5. Collaborate:

Consider working with other academics to produce research and writing that can be published collectively.

Five Tips for Approaching Publishers

1. Know and Follow the Process:

Follow each publisher’s guidelines and rules for making inquiries and submitting proposals.

2. Deliver work On-Time:

Be prepared to deliver a certain amount of work to a publisher upon request. Some publishers will request an abstract or a few chapters for review while others will expect to see an entire article or book.

3. Prepare a Great Abstract:

Be prepared to deliver a quality abstract or proposal of your work to a publisher. The abstract or proposal should be fully edited and accurately paint a picture of your work as a whole.

4. Make it Marketable:

Consider the needs of modern-day publishers. Many publishers are scaling back on the number of print copies they make in an effort to save money and respond to an increasingly electronic market. Consider the length of your manuscript and work to produce a product publishers can easily market. Also, provide publishers with an accurate description of your project’s type so they can easily identify a market for your work.

5. Introduce Yourself:

Provide publishers with a Curriculum Vita so they can get an idea of who you are as an academic and professional.

Publishing in the field of academia can be a rewarding and career-enhancing experience, especially if you pick a subject you love and about which you can be passionate. Enjoy the process and good luck!

Annie Rose Stathes holds a B.A. in International Affairs and an M.A. in Political Science, from the University of Colorado, Denver. She is currently an instructor of writing at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado.

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