Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Journal Editor's Perspective - Reference Services Review

Guest post by Eleanor Mitchell and  Sarah Barbara Watstein

As co-editors of Reference Services Review (RSR), we hope that authors will enjoy the authoring and publication experience; the following tips and aha’s promise to make the academic writing journey a fulfilling one!

  1. Why Write? Why Publish? Before you begin, think about why you want to write and publish. Do you want to demonstrate or share expertise? Advance in your position or career? Obtain funding? Develop/build community? Enhance the visibility of your institution/library/program? Do writing and publication bring you professional or personal satisfaction? Reflecting on why you want to write and publish at the head end of your work ensures both focus and momentum.
  2. Journal Options: Identify and assess journal options (publishing options/outlets). Review the journal purpose, editorial objectives, availability, intended audience, guidance for potential authors, colleague-mentoring opportunities.
  3. The Right Fit: Select the appropriate journal for your topic, your style and approach, your preferred audience, your time-frame.  If you have an off -hand, editorial style of writing, and use an informal tone, make sure the journal you are considering publishes this sort of writing.  However, sometimes, in our journal (Reference Services Review) we will include an opinion piece or an interview or a point-counterpoint style article if the topic seems provocative and relevant. Similarly, sometimes a submission may seem tangential or almost off-topic for our areas of focus; with additional work and refocusing, articles of this sort have become among the most highly downloaded by our readers.  If your topic and perspective are compelling, take a chance.
  4. Making Contact: If you have questions about whether or not a journal is “the right fit,” contact the editor or co-editor, attend conferences or events and stop by the publisher’s booth(s), reach out to members of the journal’s Editorial Advisory Board, or track down published authors.
  5. Author Guidelines: Adhere to manuscript requirements (format; tables, figures and illustrations; references”) and follow manuscript submission guidelines.
  6. Manuscript Submission: Submit your best and final work: don’t send something half-baked or clearly unedited. However, RSR has a long editorial tradition, established by our long time founding editor and legend Ilene Rockman, of working closely with authors, particularly first time authors, to help them at different points in the process. Whether it is sharpening the thesis, clarifying the arguments, or bringing additional sources or perspectives to bear, our reviewers and editors often provide essential guidance. Frequently authors will correspond with us outside the submission process to jump start their writing process.
  7. The Editorial Process: Familiarize yourself with the manuscript review and revision process for the journal you’ve selected.
  8. The Revising Process – Do’s and Don’ts: Do read the reviews carefully. Decide whether to revise or not. As you revise, take care to respond to the reviewer’s/reviewers’ comments. And, take care to complete your revisions in a timely manner. When in doubt, check in with the journal editor. Remember not to internalize or personalize the reviewer’s/reviewers’ comments.
  9. Copyright, Permissions and Access: Familiarize yourself with the copyright and permissions policies of the journal, including guidance on published article reuse by authors and others. Some journals/publishers assist authors in fulfilling funder open access mandates by depositing the accepted version of their article in a designated public repository within the required time period.
  10. If Your Article is Rejected: Read the reviews carefully. Consider the reasons provided. Either plan to rewrite/resubmit or plan to resubmit elsewhere.

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