Following on from our series examining issues relating to pulishing in academic journals. Here Katie Faulkner talks about the potential of publishing in postgraduate journals. Katie is the editor of immediations, the postgraduate research journal of the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she is also working towards a PhD in late Victorian sculpture and dress.
As PhD students we are constantly being told how important it is to have one or two publications under our belt when entering the job market. But sending off a manuscript you’ve endlessly agonized over and tweaked to an editorial board made up of, let’s face it, basically your academic heroes, can be an intimidating and nerve-wracking experience. Not to mention the wait of a year or more to see your words in shiny print. Postgraduate research journals, while they might not carry the same cachet as big name journals, can be a good way into getting published. After all, who’s going to be more sympathetic to your position than your fellow PhD students?
A good postgraduate journal runs on the same principles as a standard journal, you submit your article, it goes to peer review, you receive feed back and work with the editors before the whole issue goes to design and finally to print. The time it takes from submission to print is often faster than for a big journal, production time for immediations for example, is around ten months. This means you can often publish research while it remains topical and relevant to developments in your field.
An editorial board made up of your peers is likely to be more tolerant of mistakes and errors in your manuscript, but having said that it’s still a good idea to follow the submission guidelines as closely as possible. Below are some tips on how to keep an editor on your side through the publication process:
- Make sure you send in everything asked for in the submission guidelines, usually the article, abstract and images at low resolution, with captions (and nothing extra, they probably won’t have time to read it).
- Look at the style guide for the journal as soon as you start preparing your manuscript for submission. Re-formatting references in a hurry can be stressful!
- As soon as you know your article is going to be published begin to look into image gathering and copyright permissions as sometimes this can take a long time. Check to see if the journal has a budget to help with image costs.
- Try and abide by the deadlines set by the editorial board, sometimes turn around times are tight and a late submission can hold up the whole process.
- Don’t expect to be able to make major changes once your manuscript has gone to design. Even adding in an extra reference can be a headache for a designer so try and keep changes to a minimum at this stage.
Finally, don’t be discouraged if you receive negative feedback from the peer-reviewers. We ask them to be discerning and often articles that don’t make in it to publication the first time round make excellent resubmissions due to the peer-reviewers advice.