Tips for Publishing your First Academic Paper
Willy A Renandya
There are hundreds of academic journals out there and it is not always easy to find one that fits the kind of paper that you have just written. This is especially true if you are new in the publication game.
Some journals publish highly academic papers while others publish more practical papers. Some have high rejection rates while others have relatively high acceptance rates.
If you are an early career researcher, you probably want to submit your first paper to a journal with a relatively low rejection rate, perhaps somewhere in the 50% – 70% range.
If you want to increase your chance of getting your first paper accepted, here are some practical tips.
1. Go for a generalist (e.g., TESOl Journal) rather than a specialist journal (e.g., Journal of Pragmatics). Other things being equal, the former generally has a lower rejection rate than the latter.
2. Go for a teaching or practice-oriented journal (e.g., the ELT Journal, OUP) rather then a research-heavy journal (e.g., Language Learning, Wiley). The former publishes shorter papers and focuses on principles and practice of language teaching. The latter focuses more on disciplinary research and publishes much longer papers.
3. Aim low. Go for regional journals as they tend to have lower rejection rates. For a list of good regional journals, click here.
4. If you are note sure about the rejection rate of a journal, seek advice from your more senior colleagues. Alternatively, you can drop the editor an email.
5. Read the guidelines for authors carefully. Each journal has its own requirements in terms of length, format, style etc. If you don’t follow their guidelines, your submission may be immediately rejected.
6. Familiarize yourself with the journal you plan to send your paper to. Read some of the published articles so that you have a clear idea about the journal’s requirements.
7. Have your paper reviewed by your colleagues before you submit it to a journal. You need an extra pair of eyes to spot content as well as language issues.