How to get published as a young researcher
Publishing your first paper is an exciting career milestone, but one that is becoming more and more challenging for young researchers. In this article, we will go over some of the difficulties young researchers face today to get published, as well as what you can do to increase your chances of getting published.
What are the difficulties of publishing as a young researcher?
The high levels of competition in academia, as well as high rejection rates of journals are creating a difficult environment for young researchers to get published in. Moreover, many journals have high demands that the articles they publish be significant and novel.
This competition stems from the “publish or perish” model of science, where researchers are measured in terms of their publication output. More publications equal more collaboration, more positions, and ultimately, a permanent position in science.
However, permanent positions are very limited, resulting in hundreds of researchers competing for the same position.
What can you do to increase your chances of getting published?
Most young researchers come out of their degree programs inexperienced for this highly competitive world and thus find it even more difficult to get established. But, there are several strategies you can use to increase your chances of getting published.
Conduct quality work
The first piece of advice for young researchers is to conduct quality research work that is worthy of publication in the first place. Your work must consist of a research question that contributes new findings to the field as a whole. You must also use validated and reliable sets of methodologies and have sufficient statistical power.
Your study must be well designed and well conceptualized in order to be successful. To ensure your work is quality, you can follow principles for conducting good research known as responsible research practices.
Learn about the publication process
Another important tip is to learn how the publication process works. This involves getting familiarized with all of the steps involved in scientific publishing for your domain.
For example, learn how to prepare your manuscript before submission to a journal, the different types of peer review, what to do in case of rejection or in case revisions are required, and how to communicate effectively with editors and reviewers.
This will help you get prepared for what to expect when you submit your first manuscript.
Prepare your manuscript well
When writing your manuscript, ensure you’re writing according the standards and styles required for scientific writing and publication. Scientific writing is difficult and it takes time to master it so don’t worry if your first paper is not written perfectly.
Invest time in taking scientific writing courses throughout your academic career to practice your writing. Additionally, make sure you’re following the latest writing standards laid out by bodies such as the American Psychological Association (APA).
When preparing your manuscript for publication, pay close attention to aspects such as plagiarism and authorship. Plagiarism is considered academic misconduct and is subject to consequences such as your paper getting withdrawn from the journal. To avoid plagiarism, make sure you’ve accurately cited all ideas, concepts and methodologies in your paper to the correct source. This is important because it distinguishes your ideas from the work of others.
Authorship is defined as correctly crediting everyone involved in the research work, and not only the individual writing the paper. As a young researcher, you will likely be mentioned as first author for doing the majority of the work, however everyone else involved in any aspect of the research must also be correctly credited.
You can use the CReDiT authorship statement in your article, which provides a detailed description of which phase of the research each involved member was responsible for.
Choose your journal wisely
When choosing which journal to submit your manuscript to, use a database such as Jouroscope. Jouroscope allows you to search through over 36,000 peer-reviewed journals and provides details on each journal. You can narrow down your search by adding filters such as title, keywords, country, access type, and payment fees. Each journal is indexed in at least one reputable database, such as Scopus, Web of Science, Eric, DOAJ, and Sherpa Romeo.
An important point to consider when searching for journals is to make sure you avoid predatory journals. Predatory journals are journals that accept publication fees, but do not provide peer review or editorial services. As such, any paper can get published without critique from the scientific community, which undermines the rigor of the scientific process.
To ensure you’re not submitting to a predatory journal, you can crosscheck the journal on Jouroscope. Additionally, you can use the Think. Check. Submit checklist to check whether your selected journal is trustworthy.
To help your first paper get published, you may also consider publishing on an open access journal. Open access is a new academic movement where research output is provided online at no cost, making science accessible to all and removing any barriers.
For young researchers, the prospect of submitting to a high-ranking journal with a high impact factor may be alluring. However, try not to worry about impact factors for your first publication unless you are publishing with a senior researcher, as these journals are usually more competitive. Once you have a few publications under your belt, your chances of submitting to a high impact factor journal will be higher.
Follow journal requirements
When you have finally chosen the journal you’re submitting to, make sure your paper falls into the aim and scope of the journal. Each journal will have its own specific scope and research topics it publishes on, so make sure to choose a journal into which your paper topic fits.
Additionally, each journal will have different guidelines and requirements (i.e., formatting) for publication. Make sure your manuscript adheres to each one fully. Failure to follow journal manuscript requirements is one of the main reasons papers get rejected.
Another useful tip for young researchers to increase their chances of publication is to create a network of researchers. Once you create this network, you can begin establishing collaborations with different researchers and getting involved in their research projects.
This will help you gain more visibility and increase your chances of getting more publications.