Today, we shall take you through dos and don’ts of writing an academic article that is worthy of getting published in any journal in the world. And these are just easy steps to implement.
- Ask Yourself Why You Are Doing This.
Imagine a final year student in the university who has done a course he doesn’t like for four years and is now compelled to write that infamous final year “long essay” project on a topic he or she probably was just hearing for the first time. Chances are, this student would look for a short cut just so he/she could get it over with probably by paying someone else to do it for him/her. The reason this student would find that shorter route is simply because he has not found an answer to “why am I doing this?” Same thing applies if you want to write a scholarly article. It is a difficult frustrating journey with lots of pitfalls and if you do not have a solid reason to keep going, you will fall by the way side or find a shorter route.
Note: your reason should be a sincere need to solve a problem.
- Do not start at the beginning.
Never start an essay of this nature from the beginning. You need to begin with the end in mind. The very first thing is to write down your result or theory (after you must have carried out your research/experiment). Your article should be structured around this result/theory. After that, you move on to the methodology and discussion and then conclusion and introduction. After these, you can now write your abstract. This makes your work so much easier and finely patterned.
- Keep your drafts secret.
Protect your work with your life…at least from your subject expert colleagues. However, you can show academics from a different field. For instance, a biologist will have no clue on the research on an Economics paper, but will understand the internal logic and can tell if the style is elegant.
- Read the Author guidelines:
You know those long and tedious guidelines we see on the internet and we just scroll down to click “I accept?” Well, a journal submission guideline is something similar and reading through it might make you lose your will to live. But read you must! Following every guideline will make the review process much easier as majority of articles sent back or outrightly rejected by the editor is due to the writer’s failure to follow Journal guidelines.
- Research your research:
You have to decide which Journal is more deserving of your article so make a list (scale of preference) of all possible journals you might want your article published in. This list should rank the journals from the biggest in academics to the smallest. Now, begin sending from the top. And only send to another if one rejects you. If you get rejected by the last in your list, then it’s probably time to try something else. Poetry maybe?
- Be political and strategic
Being political is being savvy about the specific context you have as a young academic – what demands are there on the ranks of journals you should submit to, where will you be in five or 10 years’ time. All of these determine your political context. Your strategic context is how you plan a pathway to where you want to go with your career – do you publish lots of smaller articles in ‘easy’ journals, or keep plugging away to get that publication in one of the ‘top’ journals. You decide this, and it is up to you to plan a strategy rather than simply wandering blandly down whichever path you find yourself on.
If you are at a crossroads in the research, writing, or editorial phase of your work, then now is a good time to call us!!!