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“The Time Has Come” The Walrus Said …

To write my last post for phd2published. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as the managing editor of this site but it is now time for me to move on to new things. When Charlotte offered me this opportunity just after my viva last year I wasn’t sure what I could contribute or whether it was a good idea but I have always taken every opportunity that has come my way so I said yes and saw it as a fabulous learning curve, and that’s exactly what it has been.

I have learnt a great deal about academic publishing and academic career development over the last 9 months and a great deal has happened for me on the back of being here thus, I shall use this last post to review my achievements through giving you my top tips:

Put Some Thought into Your Journal Choice and Don’t Be Scared of Top Ranked Journals:

For a variety of reasons I came to the end of my PhD not having published anything as a sole author. I had contributed to a number of policy reports but I had not got any peer reviewed publications out. this was a conscious decision which made sense at the time but at the same time when I got to the end of my PhD I was playing catch-up and this does impact upon your ability to get a post-doc position. Academic departments in the UK are now looking at what potential new staff can or will be able to offer toward the REF. For early-career researchers this is two publications in ‘good’ journals. ‘Good’ generally relates to impact factor and many early-career researchers are scared off from aiming at the top ranked journals in their field. One of the key messages from the Royal Geographical Society Post Graduate Forum Annual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS) was that if you have a piece which you think is relevant to that high ranking journal you should go for it! they treat everyone the same, even the big names get rejection letters! Read more

Weekly Wisdom #56 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew

EVALUATE A POSTDOC CAREFULLY, particularly if you are in the sciences. You should think of a postdoc in cold, hard economic terms. It is an investment (or speculation, depending on your point of view) just like buying stocks or real estate. You will certainly be paid less than if you took a teaching position, but you may gain additional knowledge and experience to make more money in the long run in your chosen field. The anticipated benefits must exceed the short-run costs to make the investment worthwhile. A postdoc is appropriate under the following conditions:

You are in a field where jobs at good places are scarce and you delayed too long in starting your job search. You feel you need to gain specific research tools (or, if a scien­tist, experience with specialized equipment) to be able to move your research past your PhD dissertation. You want to work with a specific individual who will further your growth. You want to build up your publication list without using up your seven-year tenure clock. A postdoc is not appropriate if you are afraid of teaching or talking in front of people. You are merely delaying the inevitable. A postdoc is also not appropriate if you lived on a shoestring for years and/or support a family.

Journal of Peace Conflict and Development: Making Our Own Mark

In today’s post the Editorial Board behind the Journal of Peace and Conflict Development talk about how their journal is marking its mark in the changing world of academic publishing. This post was written by Benita Sumita and Roberta Hollanda Maschietto, doctoral researchers in Peace Studies, University of Bradford with input from the editorial board members of the Peace Conflict and Development journal.

“Can we improve our credibility without being ranked?” This potent question raised by one of the editorial board members defines the struggles that lie ahead for the Journal of Peace Conflict and Development (PC&D) nearly a decade since its founding. Apart from the continuing – now ever-more severe – funding constraints, the Journal is faced with having to prove its credibility through more mainstream avenues. It seems the PC&D is not visible within the UK’s mainstream cottage-industry of academic publishing and assessments, which has presumably led to a loss of the meagre financial backing the Journal received the last nine years. All these concerns need to be viewed within the contexts of the current climate of financial pressure in UK’s Higher Education and the increasing tendency to measure the quality, impact and ranking of journals by the number of times their articles are cited. It is perhaps time to question and rethink the systemically flawed nature of academic impact assessment rather than the credibility of a Journal such as PC&D that has made its own mark by reaching a wide and diverse national and international readership and attracting submissions from established scholars and practitioners. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #55 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A MENTOR early in your career. The old apprentice system still exists. Try to find mentors who were success­ful with others, who will support you, and who believe that further­ing your career helps their own career. Such a mentor is preferable to the internationally famous Nobel Prize winner who exploits you.

Katherine Reekie – Publishing in the Sciences

In this post Katherine Reekie discusses the issues surrounding publishing in the sciences.

“Publish or Perish” is a mantra which will be familiar to many of those working in academia. The pressure to publish your research in order to advance an academic career can be intense. PhD students and early career researchers in particular often find that their career prospects seem to go hand in hand with their publication record. I have heard several colleagues lament, after an unsuccessful interview, that the successful candidate had several first author papers. In the current climate, where funding for research is harder to come by, the competition for research posts is increasing, and having a good publication or two under your belt can be a considerable advantage.

The ultimate aim for a researcher in any field is to publish their research – to have it put out there in the public domain, to share their findings with the rest of the scientific community and to receive well deserved recognition for their research. The format of publication may take a variety of formats, for example journal articles, a book chapter, short news articles, reviews or letters. In Science, my own field, publishing of novel research is most typically in the form of a research paper in a scientific journal. These papers can be the result of many years of work, carried out by a great number of people. Due to an emphasis on collaboration, which is often encouraged by calls for grants involving groups of researchers all over the world to work together on the same project, the resulting research article can be a product of the work of many individuals. Therefore, rather than single or dual authored papers it is common to have several tens of contributing authors on a research article, and this number can grow to hundreds for large consortia, for example the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium which published the sequence of the human genome in 2001. Read more

Claire Warden – Interdisciplinarity: Variety Is the Spice of (Academic) Life

In this post Claire Warden, lecturer in Drama at Lincoln University, returns with another guest post, this time looking at the issues surrounding interdisciplinarity. You can follow Claire on twitter here. Recently I went to an Iron Maiden gig in Nottingham. Earlier in the day I had attended a yoga class and had then grabbed some sushi for lunch. Not owning an ‘Eddie’ top I decided to wear my Peter Gabriel 2003 tour t-shirt instead. An insightful friend called me ‘eclectic’ and I must admit that in all areas of life I rejoice in my slightly unusual day-to-day combinations: a lover of progressive rock but also a former classical soprano, a devotee of professional wrestling but also a reader of verbose Victorian novels. My friend is clearly right…I am nothing if not eclectic. This approach (call it eccentric if you will) actually impacts my work daily and I am starting to feel its effects more and more keenly.

In my last article for ‘PhD2published’ I briefly mentioned the importance of developing an interdisciplinary approach, of connecting our work with (or at least reading it alongside) the ideas of others outside of our immediate field. In this article I want to briefly begin to explore why and how this can be done. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #54 by Paul Gray and David E. Drew
WTDTYIGS Cover image

Welcome to our exciting new set of tips filling the regular Weekly Wisdom slot. We’re lucky enough to be featuring a year’s worth of tips sampled from a great book called What They Didn’t Teach You In Graduate School, by Paul Gray and David E. Drew. The book itself features over 200 hints and tips for a successful academic career and it’s a really enjoyable read to boot (with some very amusing illustrations)!

Weekly Wisdom #54:


These people know one another and determine the course of the field. Early in your career you should get to know as many of them as possible. More to the point, they should know who you are. You want them to see you as a bright young person at the forefront of your field. Although this tactic is important, be aware of the dangers associated with it. You should not begin the process until after you mastered the literature (particularly the papers they wrote!) and developed some ideas of your own. If they get to know you and conclude you have no ideas, you’re finished.

Klaus Dodds – Publishing in Academic Journals: Part 2

Following on from yesterday we continue with Klaus Dodds looking at publishing in journal articles. In this second post Klaus gives advice on how to deal with issues following on from submission.

Journal Submission

By the time you have a paper ready to submit it is highly likely you would have a sense of your target journal. There is absolutely no reason not to aim for a leading journal, especially if you have received positive informal feedback. In human geography, for example, this might include journals such as Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Annals of Association of American Geographers, Environment and Planning A-D, The Geographical Journal and leading specialist journals such as Economic Geography and Political Geography.

Determining your journal will in part be shaped by content and scope of your paper compared to the journal’s stated mission. In order to maximise your chances of being successful you need to do the following – ensure you comply with the journal’s submission guidelines, engage with recent papers within the target journal, think carefully about an engaging title/abstract/keywords and finally make sure that your paper has a good balance of theoretical and empirical material. Top journals, as based on citation factor or overall reputation within the field, do not tend to publish empirical papers. Do contact the editor prior to submission if you want to reassure yourself about the suitability of the piece Read more

Klaus Dodds – Publishing in Academic Journals: Part 1

Today we present part 1 of the second RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Annual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS) follow up pieces. In this post Professor Klaus Dodds looks at getting published in academic journals. Klaus is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London. Klaus is also Editor of the Geographical Journal.

For the vast majority of people undertaking a doctorate, getting their work published either during the research period or in the aftermath of the defence is a priority. The focus on journal publication is, more often than not, shaped by a number of factors; journal publications are highly regarded when it comes to future employment in academic and academic-related circles, journal articles are more manageable in the short-term compared to a potential monograph, articles are more likely to get read by non-academic audiences, and importantly publication whether in a journal or not fulfils a general desire to witness one’s scholarly work published online/print.

We target journals, therefore, for a variety of reasons including to secure that first academic post, after graduation. My comments reflect very much my own experience in the discipline of geography alongside publishing elsewhere in historical, political science, policy orientated and regional studies journals. I am also the editor of The Geographical Journal, and serve on the editorial boards of six other journals. Finally, multiple conversations with doctoral students I supervised in the past, and increasingly in the present, were sources of inspiration. Read more

Kevin Ward – Writing an Academic book – Some Thoughts
The Latin Quarter, Paris, France

Following on from my appearence on the panel at RGS Postgraduate ForumAnnual Conference Training Symposium (PGF-ACTS) last week I present the first of three posts from the speakers on publishing. Todays post looks at writing and academic book and is brought to you by Professor Kevin Ward. Kevin is Professor of Human Geography at Manchester University and has been the Editor of Area a journal published on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) since 2010.

So, you’ve decided that you are going to write an academic book.  Well, here are five tips:

1. It is worth considering the sort of book you want to write.  Look at publishers’ websites and consider the following: 

– Does the publisher produce the type of book that you want to write in your field?

– Are hardback and paperback versions of the book published simultaneously?  If not, how many hardbacks does your book have to sell before the publisher will commission a paperback run?

– What marketing and distribution system does the publisher have?

– Does the publisher send out copies to academic journals for review?

– Does the publisher attend large academic conferences and participate in book exhibitions? Read more

Charlotte Frost on Academic Blogging
Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2965186113/sizes/m/in/photostream/Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2965186113/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/2965186113/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Leonard Cassuto said in the Guardian: ‘If a graduate student asks me, “Should I blog?” my answer, at least right now, would still be, “Probably not “’. Just weeks ago I gave a talk at the British Library saying very much the opposite. Cassuto is a more established academic than myself, but I still think I have a point – and so did the people who invited me to give that opinion.

To discuss the fact that I came across Cassuto’s article and talked about it on Twitter would be to open another – if related – can of worms. Suffice to say that engaging with twitter for this type of academic commentary is the way I work. I’ve said time and again that Twitter and blogging allow me to usefully interact with so many academics – and non academics I hasten to add – whose opinions I value. I stand by this method of working as it helps me find great new people and ideas on a daily basis and this regularly directly informs my work.

I do recognize that my subject area lends itself particularly well to this type of information exchange. I’m currently writing a book on art mailing list culture and social media and my area of expertise is in art forms that thrive in these networks of sharing. I have had many people point out to me that they themselves aren’t working in a field where social media is considered appropriate and/or they are handling sensitive data that can’t be shared. However, I still take issue with much of what Cassuto says and I still think online discussion platforms have their place in academia.

Like Cassuto, I will divide my response into two sections. The first deals with form because I would argue that he doesn’t credit blogging or any other type of online communication with being anything other than ‘unpublished’, ‘unedited’, ‘unofficial’ writing. There is much about his tone that indicates he sees it as a lesser form of writing and I take issue with that. Read more

We Ask Ken Wissoker: Do We Need to Rethink Academic Publishing?
Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pumpkincat210/with/3416918382/Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pumpkincat210/with/3416918382/

Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pumpkincat210/with/3416918382/

Continuing to gather responses to the Guardian article by George Monbiot on the broken model of academic publishing, we asked Ken Wissoker, Editorial Director at Duke University Press, to wade into the debate. Here’s what he had to say:

I thought Monbiot’s article was very valuable for getting the word out about how the big publishers – especially Elsevier – but also Taylor and Francis and Wiley-Blackwell have extracted as much money as possible from university libraries. Elsevier pioneered this, coming up with big packages of journals that universities needed and pricing them as high as possible.  Universities with researchers in those areas (mostly science and medicine) had to pay or they weren’t supporting their professors. Since every journal was unique intellectual property, there was no competition and no market. If a library wanted to cancel a journal, Elsevier didn’t lower the price of the collection. This really was wealth extraction in a frightening and damaging form. So the article’s account of all that was a good wake-up call for those, including many academics, who were not aware of these changes over the last ten or fifteen years.  He is totally right about the infuriating way these arrangements cut out anyone without access to a university library. Read more