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Scholarly Communication and Publishing

This guide is designed for those wishing to publish their research.

Write a Book

It is important to consider what you want your final product to be before you begin the writing process. When choosing to write a book, here are some considerations:

Theses need a deal of transformation to become good books. The purpose of a thesis is to demonstrate academic competence. The purpose of a book is to convey information to the reader. The difference here is between assessment and communication. Three things you can do include:

  • To look at theses which have been turned into books which attracted attention, and looking at the associated books. Examples such as these can show you how this is done.
  • UK publishers generally want a developed proposal. Their websites give clear instructions as to what they are looking for.
  • It is generally a good idea to talk to academic publishers about book ideas. They regularly attend academic conferences. You can approach them there to pitch ideas and see if they are interested.

Source: SAGE Research Methods Project Planner: Dissemination
Byrne, D. (2017). How do I write and publish a book?. Project Planner. 10.4135/9781526408594.

Write a Journal Article

There is also the option to publish one or a series of articles from a developed thesis. You should be able to get more than one article out of a decent thesis. When publishing in a journal, you might proceed as follows:

  • Identify parts of your research that convey different aspects of the work.
  • Identify journals (ideally more than one) to which each article might be submitted.
  • Check what kinds of articles, particularly articles dealing with your topic, have been published in those journals. This will have been done to some extent in your literature review but update as necessary.
  • Pay careful attention to “instructions to authors” and work in accordance with them.
  • Check that your work meets all of the required specifications and submit.

Work as you would with the features editor for a general newspaper or magazine.

  • See what they publish.
  • Check out the length and the style.
  • Write it and send it in.

If you become a source, they will be back to you for more material in the future.

Source: SAGE Research Methods Project Planner: Dissemination
Byrne, D. (2017). What can I do next? how do I turn my thesis into useable research?. Project Planner. 10.4135/9781526408594.

Disseminate Online

There are myriad ways to get your work out there, including social media, personal connections, university archives, organization websites, podcasts, and more. 

Questions to consider when choosing the right medium for dissemination:

  • Writing a book has advantages and disadvantages:
    • It allows you to say all that you wish to say.
    • The emergence of e-books is making self-publishing easier.
    • Publishers are generally efficient and straightforward to deal with.
    • You may be able to publish a book more quickly than you would a journal article.
    • Books are good for career development.
    • It can be hard to get research monographs published.
    • Academic publishers usually require that your book is peer reviewed.
    • In some subjects more notice is taken of journal articles than reviews.
    • Books can be promoted through reviews in journals, however journals only publish a small proportion of books sent to them for review.
    • Social media contacts with wide followings might help promote your book
    • Send copies of your book to key people in your field.
  • Writing a journal article also has benefits and challenges:
    • You will almost always get comments from reviewers if you submit a piece to a journal. 
    • If a journal turns you down, use the useful comments and try submitting to another journal.
    • If asked to revise and resubmit with substantial revisions, you should always do so.
    • Journal articles are generally highly-ranked in relation to career development.
    • For higher credibility, journal articles should always be peer reviewed by experts in the field of your research. 
    • Journal articles are necessarily shorter and can often deal with only one aspect of a research project. (But you may be able to publish several articles based on your research.)
    • There is a lot of pressure on journals, particularly those with a high impact factor (lots of citations).
    • Rejection rates can be high for top tier journals (those with high impact).
  • Disseminate your report/article online on the open web.
    • Create a PDF version of your report and put it on your web page, blog and/or submit to your University Archive. You can then use the following methods to disseminate your work online:
    • Academic and related lists - These have a policy of not allowing attachments. But they are very happy to receive emails which summarize a piece of work and include a link to the full document. Usually you have to be signed up to a list to disseminate to it. But you can sign up for that purpose and then sign off if the list is not otherwise of interest to you.
    • Moderated public email lists - There is a large range of public email lists which are run by moderators. Many of these straddle the academic/practice divide and you can submit to them on the same basis as to the academic lists.
    • Twitter: If you tweet, then do so about your work. You should think about using appropriate hashtags, so that your tweets are discoverable.
    • Submit your report to professional associations in your field that publish research articles, summaries and/or reports, often in online and print formats.
    • Think about the title carefully. That will influence the number of hits when people are using web searches.
    • Blogs: If you blog, then blog about your work. If you follow bloggers who are likely to be interested in your work, then contact them, usually by their email, and send them a description and link. They will often comment on the piece and include a link to it.
    • Google Scholar has a clear set of instructions about what you should do to get your work noticed by their search robots. Follow these and Scholar will find you.
    • Create a podcast discussing your work and submit it to be linked from professional associations' websites; post about it on social media and use @ to connect to social media accounts of journals, institutions or agencies who might be interested in your research.
  • Calls for Proposals (CFPs) for Conferences and Journals
    • Sign up for listservs geared toward audiences in your field of research
    • Submit proposals in response to CFPs for conferences and journals in your field
    • Once you present your paper or research at a conference, the proceedings will often be published online (and sometimes in print) which is another way to have your work disseminated.
  • See the Publishing Online tab on the left of this page for further information.

Source: In part, this section comes from SAGE Research Methods Project Planner: Dissemination
Byrne, D. (2017). How do I disseminate my research online?. Project Planner. 10.4135/9781526408594.