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Mason Grad Insider’s Guide to Publishing: Part 1

February 17, 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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