Strategies for Publishing Success #3

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I guess the scholar I wrote about in the last blog didn’t read what I had to say. She didn’t also get the subtle admonition that writing an article to suit the interests of the editor is not always the best way to seek publication.


I received another message from her a few days back. She wrote:


Dear Prof. Canagarajah,


Thank you very much for your instruction, and my paper is finally almost done.  But after searching TQ, I seemed to be only able to find one reviewer who is an expert in phonology: Prof. --- of -- State University.  Would it be possible for you to recommend one or two other reviewers who are also experts or specialists in phonology?  That would be a great help to me.



Thanks and regards,

Dr. xxx


I wondered: why would she want to know the names of our reviewers who are experts on phonology? I wasn’t sure if this was an innocent question out of sheer curiosity. On the other hand, giving the names of experts on phonology might give the impression that these are the persons who would review her submission. It was clear that the author was looking for our potential referees, not just experts on phonology. Furthermore, we may unwittingly mislead the author because we don’t necessarily use only the scholars from our editorial board to review our articles. More importantly, the information might violate the procedures involved in the blind review.


Therefore, I politely responded:

Dr. xxx,
Our review process is anonymous. Therefore, we don't give out the names of the experts on phonology who review for us. In addition to those on the editorial board, we also get other scholars to review for us.


So that’s strategy number 3 I guess. (Note that in the last entry there were two strategies in one!) The third strategy is related to the first two: i.e., to achieve publishing success, shape your article to suit the interests and tastes of the possible reviewers.


The unrelenting efforts of this author only convey to me how the pressure to publish is driving everyone toward lobbying strategies. Publishing is all about making your research and findings appeal to the potential referees of your submission. It is okay if you have to considerably depart from the findings and claims that derive most directly from your study. Writing in a manner that interests the potential referees and getting published is what counts. Are research and publishing for the good of the human community or for the new knowledge contributed to human inquiry becoming a thing of the past?



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This page contains a single entry by SURESH CANAGARAJAH published on July 3, 2008 6:56 PM.

Strategies for Publishing Success #1 was the previous entry in this blog.

The Question of TQ’s low impact factor is the next entry in this blog.

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