A Quick Guide to Publishing for Graduate Students

A Quick Guide to Publishing for Graduate Students
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Students have to read a lot, to attend classes, and sometimes, to teach other students. Besides, they also need to research and write numerous papers, including long dissertations. Obviously, students’ lives are full of stress. Not only do they have the responsibilities listed above, but they also have to prepare for publishing. Many employers expect to find graduate students’ names in academic journals. If you want to be published, you should take care of it while studying, which makes the publishing process even more stressful. In this guide, experts from College-Writers.com service will answer some common questions and provide you with some useful tips that will help you prepare for publishing and avoid frustrations.

Publishing in Graduate School

Publishing is an overwhelming task for graduate students because they have to learn a lot about this process and requirements. Before publishing some of your works, you should familiarize yourself with the specific language and writing standards.

What Publishing Is?

In graduate school, publishing means getting research papers and essays published in academic journals. Given that the competition in the academic world constantly grows, it’s not enough for students to just do their coursework and have the necessary knowledge about their subject. Degree seekers who are looking for a postdoctoral fellowship or plan to become teachers at a university or college need to find other ways to stand out.

When to Get Published?

Publishing a paper takes a lot of time and effort. Therefore, if you wait until the final year, you may not manage to publish your materials at all. Publishing a paper may take up to three years, especially if it’s your first paper. First, most journals publish quarterly. Secondly, the panel review process also takes a lot of time. You should prepare to make numerous edits before your paper will get ready for publishing.

How to Get Published?

To publish your work, you should submit it to a journal or conference. Most often, you’ll be given a cover letter with the information on their research interests. Journals may put out calls for submissions from time to time, or they may ask authors to address a certain topic. Of course, competing with academics is a tough task for grad students. However, you can also partner with your dissertation supervisor or another professor to make sure that your work meets the academic standards. This way, journals will also know that somebody with good academic experience supports your research.

Who Should Get Published?

Usually, the students who are looking for a career in research and teaching are the most anxious about publishing. Even though the academic world is big, there are relatively small groups of people who work on a specific subject so they pay particular attention to newcomers.

Where Should You Get Published?

When choosing a publication, think of the research objectives of each journal. Usually, new journals take more submissions because they try to build their own base of contributors. In this case, it’s a win-win situation for both a journal and you because you both want to make your names recognizable.

Most students want to publish their papers in academic journals, sending examples of their writing and cover letters. However, there are also other options. For example, you may present your work at a conference or include it in a book as a chapter.

Getting Published: Challenges

As we’ve already said above, getting published is a tricky task. You may have to attend various conferences and to collaborate with others. Here are some of the most common challenges students face when they want to get published.

  • Lack of time
    Doctoral students always have busy schedules. Given that publishing isn’t necessary to get a degree, writing a long paper is often not in the list of priorities for students.
  • Lack of confidence
    Students have to deal with a lot of stress, and the situation gets even more complicated when it comes to publishing because there are many researchers and academics you need to work with. However, we recommend that you keep in mind that every well-known researcher knows what you’re going through.
  • Lack of funding
    This is another common problem. You may not only spend money on printing documentation but also on traveling to archives. Fortunately, there are programs that offer grants to help students save money on research travel.
  • Competition
    As we’ve already mentioned above, there is strong competition for publishing. Conferences and academic journals have limited space for authors so you need to stand out. We recommend that you participate in symposiums at your school and don’t get discouraged by the number of rejections.
  • Choosing the right publisher
    Although you may have a favorite academic journal with a great reputation, getting published in it might take years. Therefore, you should consider different options. However, we recommend that you do some research and make sure that the chosen journal indeed deserves your attention.
  • Addressing feedback
    Publishing a paper often involves a lot of editing and rewriting. If the chosen journal suggests some changes, pay your attention to such feedback and work with your advisor to make sure that your paper meets all the requirements.

What to Publish

Academic journals are a big thing in the academic world so you should clearly understand what exactly you’re going to publish. We recommend that you take a look at the list of options below and choose the one that fits you best.

  • Journal articles
    This is the most common form of publishing. Articles are aimed to fill a gap in research, to provide a new perspective, or to present a new methodology. Academic articles appear in peer-reviewed scholarly publications focused on a specific topic or discipline.
  • Conference papers
    You may also write an essay for an academic conference where you can share your findings in the form of an oral presentation. Usually, conference papers are not intended for printing initially but they are often translated into journal articles. You need to submit an abstract in advance so that a panel can review it.
  • Books
    Although some people choose to publish a book themselves, anthologies are the most common form of publishing in grad school. Editors are looking for submissions on certain topics, and the books may be written by multiple or single authors.
    Anthologies combine different ways of thinking. Some contributors may approach their topic from an intellectual point of view, while others might consider technical or cultural aspects.
  • Dissertation
    A dissertation is required in all Ph.D. programs. Usually, a dissertation is the longest piece of writing a student has done until that point. To learn more about dissertations, review the graduate departments of different schools.
  • Thesis
    Theses are similar to dissertations. However, they are usually required at the Master’s level. Another difference is that there are fewer Master’s programs for which theses are necessary. For many students, a thesis is their first chance to do proper research and to write a comprehensive paper. Most often, theses are 20,000-60,000 words long, and they will be useful for students who plan to do a Ph.D. Compared to dissertations, theses are less commonly published, however, some journals might take them.
  • Research findings
    Research findings are less polished than academic papers, including the raw data from a student’s research. For example, research findings may include statistics, interviews, and other forms of primary research.
    Research findings appeal to a wide audience because the data can be analyzed from different perspectives.

Tips for Publishing

Even though you need to do a lot of work to publish your paper, publishing can help you in the future, when looking for a job. We decided to answer some of the most common questions among students.

How many papers should I try to publish before graduating?

According to scholar-practitioner Dr. Francis McAvoy, There is no universal answer to this question. Students from the STEM area use quantitative methods and are more likely to publish something before graduation because they often work in labs and research teams. It doesn’t mean that the situation is completely different for qualitative scholars but STEM students often graduate with 1-3 publications.

How many journal articles can I publish during a Ph.D.?

The answer depends on several factors, including the length of your program, faculty relationships, and research team access. Some students have 10 publications, while others don’t even manage to publish one work. For instance, if you have a four-year program, you should submit it in year three and get it approved. You should also collect data, analyze it, and write the paper. Papers are usually accepted in year four because revisions may take a few months. As a result, you may get your paper published after you graduate.

Are there Ph.D. students who have no journal publications?

Everything depends on the type of employment students are looking for after graduation. Students who want to work in organizations with a high level of research productivity may consider post-doctoral positions. Such options also allow you to gain additional expertise and training.

Is it essential to have a publication to apply for a Ph.D. program?

People have different reasons to apply for a Ph.D. program, and it’s not always necessary to have a publication. Admissions panels are also interested in your ability to focus on different goals (internships, jobs, symposiums, etc.). As long as you demonstrate your commitment to scholarship, having publications isn’t necessary.

Is it necessary to publish before starting a Ph.D. program?

Although most students start to worry about publishing before starting a Ph.D. program, the truth is that they usually have enough time for it while getting a Ph.D. and after that. There are many people in the academic world who wonder why publishing is considered so important for graduate students. We recommend that you talk to your mentor or advisor to understand when you should start to work on your publication.

What’s the difference between a Ph.D. thesis and published article?

A Ph.D. thesis is required if you want to get a degree, while a published article is optional. In addition, Ph.D. theses are usually much longer, being up to 90,000 words long, while journal articles are usually 4,000-7,000 words long.

Should I write my Ph.D. thesis first?

Although doctoral-level publications are a common requirement in the job market, they are not required for a degree. Thus, we recommend that you focus on your research and thesis writing. If you have enough time, you can make writing journal articles your second priority.

Tips from Experts

Publishing is an intimidating process for students. Why is this process so important?

There was a time when you could get a job if you just had an award-winning thesis or a great dissertation. Publications prove your commitment to understanding important problems and answering important questions. Besides, institutions will be happy to know that you’re capable of publishing your work. It’s not necessary to be the only author of the publication. Moreover, collaboration is often encouraged. The most stressful part of the publication process is critique and rejection.

You should understand that critique is a good thing because it can help you improve your writing and research skills, producing better articles. You shouldn’t keep your findings to yourself just because you’re afraid of the feedback.

What mistakes students often make when preparing their first articles?

The most common mistake is not following the guidelines of the submission process. For example, they might choose the wrong citation format or exceed the word count. Another common mistake is forgetting to include a cover letter and not proofreading a paper before submitting it.

What advice the experts can give?

Show your work to as many people as you can before submitting it. We recommend that you revise your paper many times before you print it. To find a good outlet, we suggest that you look where other students submit their work and choose the outlets that correspond to your area of interest. Select at least three outlets that may be useful for you and look for special calls. Usually, special calls go much faster than the traditional submission process so we recommend that you consider them first. Finally, keep in mind that the more competitive the journal, the longer the publishing process.

What are other ways to get recognition?

Publishing your work is not the only way to get recognized. You can also apply for grants, fellowships, and awards related to your field of study. Everybody loves award winners and people whose work has been funded or recognized by outside organizations. You can also increase your visibility if you publish not only in academic journals but also in other outlets, as well. We recommend that you attend various conferences and try to get on programs as a facilitator or presenter so that other people in your field will know who you are.

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