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Dr Jigar Jogia – Advice from a Prize Winning Author

Over the last few months we have looked at writing and publishing journal articles from a variety of different perspectives but mainly in the social sciences so here is a post for the natural and clinical scientists amongst our readers. Todays post comes from Dr Jigar Jogia. Jigar completed his PhD in the field of Psychiatry and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, (King’s College London, KCL) in 2010. He is currently a Postdoctoral researcher in the section of neurobiology of psychosis (Institute of Psychiatry, KCL). He also lectures and delivers training to staff and students for the Graduate School Researcher Development Unit at KCL. Jigar recently won the Samuel Gershon Award for Bipolar Disorder Research, in this post he reflects on the importance of journal selection. 

Recently I have published some original data in a peer reviewed Journal Molecular Psychiatry which is the highest ranked psychiatric journal at present with an impact factor of 15.470. The impact factor is a measure of the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is commonly used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field; with journals with higher impact factors deemed to be more important. My advice to young postdocs in any field wanting to publish their research is to be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your studies and select the right journal, it is one of the most crucial parts of the publication process but the importance of this step is underestimated by many. Selecting a journal whereby your research can reach your target audience and have a real impact in your field is vital for furthering your career as a postdoctoral researcher. Publishing in a good journal will add indirect credibility to your work and also introduce you as a new researcher in the field. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #53

Weekly Wisdom #53 Don’t start promising free copies to everybody you encounter, you wont actually get that many!

Claire Warden – How to Spend the Time between PhD & Publishing

Today’s post comes from Dr. Claire Warden and considers how to spend your time while moving from PhD to published. Claire is a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Lincoln. Her first book, British Avant-Garde Theatre is out with Palgrave next year. You can follow Claire on twitter here.

While commenting on a draft copy of my book, my wonderfully generous proof-reader made me rethink my use of citation with the following soupçon of wit:

“Quite a lot of references to what other scholars are doing. Sometimes these get rather too close to the ‘as Dr Dryasdust has said, “Shakespeare lived before the steam-engine”’.

The point being, citation in a book is substantially different from citation in a thesis. Dr Dryasdust’s comment is factually correct but we do not require the good doctor to tell us! And this gets to the crux of the difference between a thesis and a book: the former is written for examination, the latter is written to be read.

The humorous comment also points to a broader issue: the PhD-to-Book process is one of learning, personal development and transforming the way you write. While I completed my PhD in 2007, my first book will only hit the shelves (or shelf on my less ambitious days) next year. This might seem like a large gap and, as I finish the final draft, it certainly feels as if I have spent half a lifetime on it! But, as the story above shows, there is merit in taking your time over this process. There is a great deal of useful material on this site about the PhD-to-Book process, so what I want to do is focus on what to do while you’re waiting. Obviously honing our writing skills and ignoring Dr Dryasdust’s unnecessary interruptions are vital, but what else can be done? Read more

Weekly Wisdom #52

Weekly Wisdom #52 Don’t forget to work on your CV, it needs to be just as pretty as the rest of your pitch!

Charlotte Frost Interviewed in Adventures in Career Development
screen grab adventures in career development

I was recently interviewed about PhD2Published for the excellent blog Adventures in Career Development by Tristram Hooley. It was great to reflect on how PhD2Published started and has grown over the last eighteen months or so. And I was really honoured Tristram was interested in the project.

My interview starts like this:

AiCD: Who are you?

My name is Dr Charlotte Frost I’m the 2011/2012 International Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I’m a broadcaster and academic interested in the relationship between art and technology. My particular specialism is the impact of digital technologies on art historical discourse, but I’ve also been studying and writing about the developing field of Digital and New Media art for over ten years. I teach art contextual modules at Writtle School of Design and the University of Westminster. And I run a range of projects that support my research objectives while creating platforms for knowledge exchange and experimentation – particularly with reference to publishing.

AiCD: Tell us a little bit about PhD2Published? Read more

Ernesto Priego – On Collaborative Blogging as Scholarly Activity. The Case of The Comics Grid. Part II.

This is the second part of Dr Ernesto Priego’s series on collaborative blogging as a scholarly activity.

“Every moment has its discontents, its challenges and failures. Yet no moment is every truly last, at least not so long as we persist in human conversation.”

Stuart Moulthrop, 2005 [PDF]

From the start I knew that if The Comics Grid project was attractive to others it was going to grow fast. I therefore considered essential to design specific guidance documentation, that was later reviewed by the core editorial team. What started with one person, then five, has become now thirteen active contributors, including reviewers and editors. We have published 52 posts since January 2011, and have since maintained our publication schedule of two original posts per week. The blog has been viewed almost 28,000 times, and our analytics reveal that most readers find us by making comics research-related queries on Google.

A sense of mission is what has kept editors and contributors working together in spite of the logical challenges imposed by lack of face-to-face interaction (all work is done online, by email, on shared Google docs and on the blog’s dashboard). In what follows I’d like to share with you one the points that summarise our mission:

Read more

Ernesto Priego – On Collaborative Blogging as Scholarly Activity. The Case of The Comics Grid. Part I.

This week we are exploring different types of publishing with posts from Dr. Ernesto Priego. Dr Ernesto Priego is an editor, journalist, translator, poet, curator and researcher. He has been writing and teaching about comics since 1994. He lives in London. You can follow him on twitter here

“If collaboration and team working are going to be expected more of humanities researchers in future, then we need to think about how to make it seem more normal.”

Claire Warwick, 15 June 2011

One of the most satisfying and challenging projects I’ve been involved with recently is The Comics Grid. When people ask me what it is all about, I say “collaboration.” After I submitted the final draft of my PhD dissertation (ambitiously titled “The Comic Book in the Age of Digital Reproduction”), I couldn’t wait any longer to to create an actual platform, a research and teaching tool, something concrete (online resources are very much concrete and not “virtual” in the sense of “unreal”) with which to address a lack I perceived in the field.

This field is actually a multiplicity of fields. Since what has been called “comics scholarship” studies multimodal texts the methodologies employed to study them should equally be multmodal, i.e., combining different disciplines until not too long ago perceived (and in some cases still perceived) as essentially different. Media studies, communication studies, information studies, cultural studies, film studies, archeology, library science, history, geography, you name it: people studying comics within and outside academia have always employed a combination of approaches and terminologies produced and transmitted from these disciplinary areas. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #51

Weekly Wisdom #51 Keep your name out there by writing reviews of related books for key publications!

Eva Lantsoght – My Experience of Dealing with Reviewers Comments
Conflict Resolution 2

The final post this week comes from Eva Lantsoght you can visit her blog here and follow her on twitter. In this post Eva discusses her practical experience of dealing with reviewers comments. 

From last Thursday to Monday, I’ve been completely immersed into replying reviewers’ comments to a paper which will be published as a special publication after a conference in October. Previously, I did receive some comments from reviewers for other conference papers, but the effort they required to reply was typically negligible.

Wednesday evening, however, I received 3 pages of commentary on my paper, 19 sections with comments in total. I was both terrified (it looked like a lot of work) and enthusiastic (the reviewers really analyzed my paper and provided valuable input) at the same time. It did look like a lot of work, and I also was questioning my ability to deal with it. When quickly glancing over the comments, I could immediately point out a few remarks for which I thought I would need the input of my supervisors.

I took a deep breath, and decided I’d better first finish the (also urgent) report I was working on.

Thursday afternoon I finally started working on the comments. I started by printing out the comments, and reading through them to get a general idea of what I was supposed to do, and to check if everything is clear and not contradictory from the different reviewers’ perspectives. Read more

Dealing with Conflicting Reviewers – Advice from Some Editors
conflict resolution

Today is the first response to Jess Drake’s question on how to deal with conflicting reviews. I approached Prof. Chris Hamnett and Prof. Matthew Paterson who have previously contributed to the body of advice and information on journal articles particularly revision and rejection. Their previous posts can be seen here (Chris Hamnett) and here (Matthew Paterson). The post below is a synthesis of their advice. 

“Conflicting referee’s comments are not unusual. It would be surprising if everyone thought exactly the same. In general journals will go with the majority view from referees which is why many use three referees unless the minority view is so strong and convincing that they are willing to discount, to some extent, the views of the other two. Where one referee thinks the paper is good, but others see areas of weakness, you generally need to deal with these.

The big problem is where referees give contradictory suggestions, for example, one says shrink the theoretical section and expand the empirical section, and the other suggests the opposite. In these cases you need to make a reasoned decision on the basis of a close reading of the referee’s comments as to which, if either, is appropriate. If in real difficulty you could ask the editor for advice pointing to the contradiction. What is always important when you resubmit is to send an accompanying letter to the editor outlining the changes you have made and which referees criticisms they relate to and saying ‘I have addressed points A, B. and C of referee 1 but not point D, as this seems to contradict the recommendation of referee 2’. it is entirely legitimate to say that ‘I have not addressed point E as I believe that this is incorrect’ though you should always try to insert a sentence or two in the paper to explain why you have stuck to your original analysis or point. What editors want to see is a systematic and reasoned response to the main referee’s comments. They do not necessarily expect you to address all of them in the same depth or to agree with all of them. And if one referee recommends cutting X and the other says you should expand X, they cannot both be right” (Chris Hamnett). Read more

A Question from Jess Drake – Dealing with Conflicting Reviewers

Over the last few months we have covered a range of issues related to the publication of journal articles. A couple of weeks ago we received a question via twitter from Jess Drake aka @soilduck relating to how to deal with conflicting reviewers comments. Jess is a PhD researcher at The Fenner School, Australian National University. During the day, she dabbles in understanding the environment of post-mining landscapes. At night, she writes for her own blog, contributes to online communities, ponders science communication and open science/review, cooks, bakes and brews. In today’s post Jess outlines her concerns then tomorrow and Thursday we shall look at providing some answers. You can read more about Jess and her work here

When reading comments from reviewers, there is that odd occasion that reminds me of being a kid stuck between parents with opposing views. Your Mum tells you to clean your room before dinner. Your Dad tells you it is ok to do it after, but you must do it before you can watch TV.

This creates a lot of confusion for a kid: Who do you listen to? Which one is right? Are they both right? What do you do? Learning how to deal with paper reviews can be the same. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #50

Weekly Wisdom #50 Start planning your second book!