How to Publish a Research Paper

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This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD, and wikiHow staff writer Christopher M. Osborne, PhD. C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the director of the Research Institute of the Center for Secure Data in the Social Sciences. He was a Research Associate at the US Census Bureau and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently a member of the Population Sciences Subcommittee of the National Institute for Child Health and Development. He has a PhD. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved after it receives enough positive comments. This article received 30 testimonials and 92% of voted readers found it useful, earning it Reader Approved status. This article has been viewed 669,058 times.

Publishing a scientific article in a peer-reviewed journal is an important activity within the academic community. It allows you to network with other scientists, get your name and work there, and further refine your ideas and research. Getting published isn’t easy, but you can improve your chances by submitting technically sound and creative yet simple research. It’s also important to find the right scholarly journal for your topic and writing style, so that you can tailor your research paper accordingly and increase your chances of publication and wider recognition.

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    Ask a colleague or professor to review your research paper. They must correct the grammar, misspellings, typos, clarity and conciseness of their work. They should also review their content. Research papers must present a significant and relevant problem. They should be clearly written, easy to follow, and appropriate for your target audience.[1]

    • Have two or three people check your work. At least one must be a non-expert on the main topic; Your “outside perspective” can be especially valuable, as not all reviewers will be experts on your particular topic.
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    Revise your article based on the reviewers’ recommendations. You will likely go through several drafts before finally submitting your research paper. Make a special effort to make your work clear, engaging, and easy to follow. This will greatly increase your chances of getting published.[2]

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    Prepare your manuscript according to the requirements of the selected journal. Please format your research paper to match the guidelines for that publication. Most journals provide a document called an “Instructions for Authors” or “Guide for Authors” that offers specific instructions on layout, font, and length. This guide will also tell you how to submit your work and provide details about the review process.[3]

    • Articles in scientific journals usually follow a certain organizational format, such as: abstract; Introduction; methods; The results; Discussion; Conclusion; Acknowledgments/References. Arts and humanities courses tend to be less regulated.
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    Submit your article when you think it’s ready. Go to the Author’s Guide (or similar) on the journal’s website to review submission requirements. Once you are satisfied that your work meets all the guidelines, please submit your work through the appropriate channels. Some journals allow online submission, while others prefer hard copy.[4]

    • Submit your article to only one journal at a time. Work through the list, one at a time, as needed.
    • When teaching online, please use your university email account. This connects you to a scientific institution, which lends credibility to your work.
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    Don’t panic when you get the first response from the magazine. Very few article submissions receive an immediate “Accept” response from a peer-reviewed journal. If you get one of these, go celebrate! Otherwise, take it easy with the response you get. It will probably be one of the following:[5]

    • Accept with Review: Only minor adjustments are needed, based on reviewer feedback.
    • Please Revise and Resubmit: More substantial changes (as described) are required before publication can be considered, but the journal is still very interested in your work.
    • Reject and Resubmit: The item is currently not viable for consideration, but significant edits and redirects can change this outcome.
    • Reject: the article is not and will not be suitable for this publication, but this does not mean that it cannot work for another journal.
    • When trying to publish a research paper, be patient and be prepared to hear “no” often. There are a lot of checks before a peer-reviewed article sees the light of day, as they need to be carefully vetted.[6]
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    Please accept reviewer comments as constructive criticism. Very often you will be asked to revise your article and resubmit it, based on feedback from several (often three) anonymous reviewers and editors. Study your revisions carefully and make any necessary changes.

    • Don’t get too attached to your original submission. Instead, be flexible and rework the job in light of the feedback you receive. Use your research and writing skills to create top-notch work.
    • However, you don’t have to “turn around” and humbly follow reviewer comments that you think are wrong. He opens a dialogue with the editor and explains his position, respectfully but confidently. Remember, you are the expert on this topic![7]
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    Keep trying to post your work. Even if you end up getting rejected by your favorite magazine, keep rewriting your research paper and submitting it to other publications.[8]

    • Remember, rejected work does not necessarily mean bad work. A number of factors, many of which are completely out of your control, go into determining which items will be accepted.
    • Switch to the magazine of your second choice for the presentation. You can even ask the editor of the first magazine to guide you in finding a better answer.
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    Familiarize yourself with potential postings. Stay on top of already published research and current topics and studies in your field. Pay particular attention to how other research articles in your field are written: format, type of articles (quantitative vs. qualitative studies, primary research, review of existing articles), writing style, topic, and vocabulary.[9]

    • Read academic journals related to your field of study.
    • Search the Internet for published research articles, conference papers, and journal articles.
    • Ask a colleague or professor for a suggested reading list.
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    Choose the publication that best suits your research work. Each post has its own audience and writing tone. Decide, for example, whether your research article would be more suitable for a journal that is highly technical and intended only for other scientists, or a journal of a more general nature for a broader audience.[10]

    • “Custom” is key here: the best-known magazine in your field may not be the best fit for your specific business. At the same time, though, don’t sell yourself on the assumption that your work will never be good enough for that top-notch publication.
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    Consider the circulation or exposure of the magazine. Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential places to apply, do some research to find out how widely read and cited the articles are in those journals. More exposure for your business will be a definite benefit, especially when you’re trying to make a name for yourself early in your career.[11]

    • However, always give priority to peer-reviewed journals, where scientists review submitted articles anonymously. This is the basic standard for scholarly publishing.
    • You can dramatically increase your readership by publishing in an open access journal. As such, it will be freely available as part of an online repository of peer-reviewed scientific articles.[12]
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    Give your work a clear vision. Good news articles usually go straight to the point and stay there until the end. Identify exactly what your document explores/explores/achieves from the outset, and make sure that each subsequent paragraph builds on this vision.[13]

    • Make a strong and clear statement of this vision in your thesis. Compare the following weak and strong statements:
      • “This paper explores how George Washington’s experiences as a young officer may have shaped his views during difficult circumstances as a commander.”
      • “This paper argues that George Washington’s experiences as a young officer on the Pennsylvania frontier in the 1750s directly influenced his relationship with Continental Army troops during the harsh winter at Valley Forge.”
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    Narrow your focus. Clear visions can also be big visions, but magazine articles don’t lend themselves to close scrutiny of big issues. Scholars reviewing the content of a thesis or dissertation often struggle with this element; You should be able to remove (or at least significantly restore) things like background information, literature reviews, and methodological discussions for a journal article.[14]

    • This is especially true for younger scientists entering this field. Leave the big research (still only 20-30 pages) to more established scientists.
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    Write an excellent summary. The abstract is the first impression reviewers will have of your work, so make it count. Make sure there are absolutely no tipfelers or unnecessary items; You will only have about 300 words to work with. Be bold in your claims and original in your approach, but don’t overstate what your article really has to offer.[15]

    • Your summary should encourage people to start reading the article, but never leave them disappointed when they finish the article.
    • Invite as many people as possible to read your abstract and provide feedback before submitting your article to a journal.
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An exemplary introduction to scientific inquiry.

An exemplary introduction to research for the humanities.

Example of introduction to the investigation.

  • Do not revise your article right away if you are upset or frustrated by the journal’s change requests. Put your paper aside for a few days, and then come back to it with “fresh eyes.” The comments you received will be filtered and sorted and will now find a comfortable place within your article. Please note that this is a large project and final improvements will take time. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

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