PGF-ACTS 2012: Making the most of an academic publication

This session was concerned with getting academic papers published, read and cited; writing for your audience; and, balancing your thesis with publications. It was led by Madeleine Hatfield (Managing Editor: Journals, RGS-IBG) and Klaus Dodds (Editor, The Geographical Journal).

The session explored the aims of getting published and the differences between getting published, being read and getting cited, with statistics on article downloads and an explanation of journal impact factors. Emphasis was placed on publication strategy: targeting the journal most appropriate for your research, highlighting your original contribution, promoting your paper and ensuring search-ability (including the importance of titles, keywords and abstracts and search engine optimisation). Also discussed was awareness of copyright, use of Open Access publishing and the importance of citing your own publications correctly when they have been published online!

While it was acknowledged that getting publish is a difficult undertaking, the participants were reminded that they should have confidence in their own work. When planning a publication: carefully chose the publication, research its aims and objectives, identify the editorial committee and engage with the journal. Researchers were encouraged to contact the editor or editorial board members if they wanted to float initial ideas and check the suitability of a possible submission ahead of time. The practicalities of publishing were also addressed, with the importance of practising writing and having a network of readers being stressed. Although there is considerable pressure put on postgraduates to get published, it was explained that you should only publish when it can be accommodated in your research schedule and in a publication or format which suits you and your research.

The slides are available here. Thanks to the presenters for most useful and inspiring session and to all the participants for their involvement.