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Mason Grad Insider’s Guide to Publishing: Part 2

24 February 2017

Austin Deray

This week’s Insider continues our publishing series.[i]  Last week, we went over the first three steps of publishing: Step 1: Identify your audience; Step 2: Familiarize Yourself; and Step 3: Know the Guidelines. This week we will continue our guide into publishing with steps 4-6. Let’s get started!

Step 4: Follow these General Rules and Guidelines

Besides knowing the style guidelines for specific disciplines (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, AMA), there are some specific rules and guidelines to keep in mind when publishing.

  1. Before submitting, read and follow the instructions for authors provided by the particular journal you are targeting (see the journal’s web page for these instructions). For instance, a journal may follow APA style for citations and references, but have specific requirements for formatting that differ from the APA style.
  2. Before submitting, ask a mentor or peer (hopefully, someone with expertise in the field) to review your manuscript and offer suggestions to improve both grammar and content for your article.
  3. Before submitting, make sure this is new (previously unpublished) material and remember to submit to one journal at a time.
  4. Before submitting, try to link your article to coming themes or special issue calls for best success.
  5. Before submitting, as my gender thesis chair would say, “No one wants to read an article with a boring title.” Find a good title for your article, something that will grab attention.
  6. Before submitting, try to use effective keywords in your title and abstract.[ii]

Step 5: Avoid these Common Publishing Errors

Keep these common errors in mind, so that you won’t make them yourself.

  1. Lack of familiarity with journal and audience
  2. As already stated, wrong style—check journal guidelines
  3. GRAMMATICAL ERRORS! (yes, I am using shouty capitals)
  4. Failure to establish your credibility/qualifications. People want to know you are qualified to speak on what you are discussing in your work.[iii]

Step 6: Manage an Acceptance or Rejection

Your article has been accepted! It is rare for your article to be accepted the first time out, even rarer without any comments and need for edits. So, make the edits if you agree with them; if not, thank them for their time and comments and shop your article elsewhere.

Expect to get conditionally accepted, often known as a “revise and resubmit” decision. One or two peer reviewers will have read your manuscript, and it is now time to make edits. Paul J. Silvia, in How to Write a Lot, relates there are three forms of acceptances: Open Doors, Wide-open Doors, and Barely Open Doors.

  1. Open Doors are when “the editor is willing to consider a revised version of your manuscript. This category ranges from encouraging letters that imply likely acceptance to discouraging letters that imply a long slog of revision.”
  2. “Wide-open doors involve easy changes, such as rewriting parts of the text or adding information.”
  3. Finally, “barely open doors involve effortful changes, such as collecting more data and rethinking the conceptual basis for your research. Sometimes, editors say that they’ll treat heavily revised manuscripts as new submissions.”[iv]

Lastly, there will be the times you get the dreaded rejection, or as Silvia calls it the Closed Door. “When the door is closed, the editor never wants to see your manuscript again. Sometimes, closed-door rejections encourage you to submit your manuscript elsewhere; other times, the editor mails you a personal shredder for destroying all known copies of the manuscript. If the door is closed, don’t antagonize the editor by resubmitting the manuscript.”[v] He is speaking bluntly and with humor, but it is good advice to heed. First and foremost, keep calm and collected. Rejection is a part of life and it’s why there are resubmission options. Sometimes your work isn’t up to snuff and you need to do some major editing before sending it to a new journal.

Well, I hope you found this blog helpful and remember to check out Mason Grad Insider’s next blog. Kay Ágoston will guest writing and speaking about the Fulbright opportunities for graduate and professional students.

Have a great weekend,


[i] Inspiration and content coming from Thriving in Graduate School Workshop: “Creating a Publication Plan and How to Write a Lot” and PROV 601 Presentation by John W. Warren, George Mason University Press.

[ii] Presentation by John W. Warren, George Mason University Press.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Paul J. Silvia, How to Write a Lot, Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association Press, 2007, 91-3.

[v] Ibid., 93.

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Mason Grad Insider’s Guide to Publishing: Part 1

17 February 2017

Austin A. Deray

For this week’s Insider, we’ve decided to focus on both an academic and a professional issue: publishing.[i]  Most think the hardest part of the publishing process is writing the perfect article, review, or chapter excerpt; however, I’ll be honest that it is just the beginning. What can be the longest, most heart-crushing, and most exhausting bit of the process is the journal selection and publication process.

This all being said, I thought it would be help to go through a quick look, a beginner’s guide if you will, to publishing as a graduate student.

Step 1: Identify Your Audience

An easy, but often overlooked, step is to identify the scholarly journals and publication options in your field. We all know the top three journals in our particular field. Guess what, so does everyone else. While keeping those journals in mind, remember there are many more out there. Do some research on your own, ask your advisor or trusted mentor, or — heck, you use Google for everything anyway — there is no shame in a quick search.

Remember to check non-traditional journals, like Notes and Queries, or academic journals that are specific to your field, but not physically published in this country. I am currently working with the Royal Studies Journal, an English academic journal that has an Internet presence in the States. Few American universities are subscribers; however, it is a leading journal in the field of Medieval Ruler studies.

Step 2: Familiarize Yourself

The idea is to familiarize yourself with not only the titles of appropriate journals, but also what they are publishing. Read a few articles from a few different issues to get a sense of a journal’s focus… i.e., make sure your research fits. Get a sense of how frequently these articles are cited in other journals, chapters, or whole monographs. Mason Libraries’ journal page offers services that can help you search regular citations and keep up to date on current publications in your field of study: JournalTOCS and BrowZine.

Step 3: Know the Guidelines

Always, and I do mean ALWAYS, check out the journal’s guidelines. Make sure you are using the correct style guides: MLA, Chicago/Turabian, APA, AMA, etc. I’m not saying there aren’t general rules, which will be discussed in Part 2 of this blog series, but remember that each journal will have specifics that you will want to follow.

Well, I hope this found this blog helpful and remember to check out the Part 2 of Mason Grad Insider’s Guide to Publishing, coming February 24th. In this issue, we will look at the next step, taking your research and prepping it for the journal of your choice, the general rules, style guides, and final edits and reviews.

Have a great weekend,


[i] Inspiration and content coming from Thriving in Graduate School Workshop: “Creating a Publication Plan and How to Write a Lot” and PROV 601 Presentation by John W. Warren, George Mason University Press.

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Master Networking and Dining Etiquette at Mason’s Annual Graduate and Professional Student Event

February 10, 2017

By Lori Cohen Scher and Julie Choe Kim

Have you ever attended a professional cocktail hour where you had to manage holding a drink glass, a plate, a fork AND had to shake someone’s hand and exchange business cards?

Have you ever dined with a potential employer and noticed she had a piece of spinach stuck in her front tooth?

Have you ever gone to a networking event all by yourself and walked into a crowded room where there was no one there you knew?

These common, and not to mention awkward, moments happen to us all.

As graduate and professional students, there is no doubt your professors, advisers, or career counselors have emphasized to you the importance of networking in order to establish yourself professionally. The ability to grow a strong circle of contacts will increase your professional visibility and will help set you apart on the job market. However, for many of us, the very thought of even entering a professional networking situation can provoke great fear and self-doubt.

The best way to overcome these networking anxieties is to get some practice!

The Graduate and Professional Student Networking & Etiquette Dinner, which takes place at the Arlington Campus each year, is open to ALL graduate and professional students at Mason. This fun evening (this year happening on Friday, February 23th) is designed to help you practice your networking and dining etiquette skills in a relaxed atmosphere over a delicious meal, all for a reasonable cost of $20.

The evening will begin with hors d’oeuvres and networking practice facilitated by Cathleen Hanson of the International School of Protocol. Cathleen will guide you through the evening, which will also include a seated meal and a fabulous dessert reception. At the event you will have the opportunity to connect with Mason alumni who will serve as table networking hosts. This is a unique opportunity not only to practice and refine your skills, but also to network directly with employers who may work in your industry area of interest. The evening will provide ample time for making connections and asking questions about some common networking and etiquette dilemmas.

In addition to the actual dinner, students have the opportunity to register for a free pre-event LinkedIn Speedshop. This session presented by University Career Services will cover the top ten things you need to know about this valuable social networking tool. The LinkedIn Speedshop is open to all graduate and professional students whether or not you plan to stay for dinner.

Digging Deeper: Why will this be such a valuable experience?

The skills you will learn and practice at the LinkedIn Speedshop and Networking & Etiquette Dinner will be valuable for graduate and professional students across disciplines and industry areas, whether you are currently employed in your field of interest, are actively on the market for a job or internship, or are planning for a job search in the future. The reality is that even if you are at the beginning of a multi-year graduate program, now is the time to begin making intentional connections with people in your field. You may be attending academic, research, and professional conferences on the local, national, or even international levels. These fellow conference-goers could become your future collaborators, colleagues, or employers. Your program may also organize a symposium for your discipline and/or a mixer with prospective students or recent alumni; making meaningful connections at these types of events can lay the groundwork for conversations about future opportunities.

Once you are searching for a job or working, business meals and work-related social and networking functions will pop up with regularity. A prospective employer may take you out for lunch or dinner as a part of your interview. In academia, interview schedules for candidates for faculty and administrator positions often include a meal with search committee members, department colleagues, and/or students. Whether during a lunchtime interview or a dinner for all the new hires at your company, you have an opportunity to make the best professional impression possible.

Join Us!

We hope you will join us at the dinner! By participating in this event, you can equip yourself with tools that will help you stand out in a positive way among colleagues and employers. For detailed information about the evening, check out the Graduate and Professional Student Networking & Etiquette Dinner website. Here you will find a registration link as well as the evening’s agenda and other great resources to get you prepared. With limited space and registration closing soon, be sure to reserve your spot today!

Edited February 07, 2018 by Andrew Quillen

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