What’s Your Publication Strategy?

Prof. Fabio Rojas breaks down three areas that can affect your publication strategy

When it comes to publishing, there are a lot of different approaches and finding the right strategy for you can depend on a variety of factors. As Fabio Rojas, professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington notes in a recent series of tweets, publication strategies vary by career stage, institution, and research area.

Based on advice from his book Grad Skool Rulz, Rojas breaks down the three issues scholars should focus on regarding publishing strategy.

According to Rojas, the first issue a scholar should tackle is centered around the level of journal prestige to submit their work. He specifically points to scholars’ tendency to focus on the “float down” technique and considers it to be a bit of bad advice, as you can spend years getting rejected and hindering your publication prospects.

Instead, Rojas suggests being honest with yourself regarding the topic and message of your work, as well as taking a moment to consider what type of journal it would fit in best. Scholars should ask themselves whether the paper has a message that’s of interest to a broad audience within the discipline, or is it more of niche piece that might find better footing in a more specialized journal?

Issue two takes into consideration where you are in your career stage. Where you fall within your career track may allow for more flexible with where you submit your papers, or it may guide your decision to focus more on hitting quotas.

Lastly, Rojas addresses research style and area, and how different disciplines and fields may require different tactics. Specifically, he addresses disciplines where an oversaturation of papers and works method is required, such as medical and health research.

He does address the flipside to this method though, highlighting that qualitative research areas, where books are more the norm than journals, won’t be able to have the same quick turnaround time. Meaning, scholars in these fields should focus on a higher quality of work rather than copious amounts.

Ultimately, finding the right sweet spot for a publishing strategy depends on where you are in your career, the goals you’re looking to achieve, and the field you’re writing for. Having a good understanding for how those three areas intersect can help you leverage your publishing and your career.

For more publishing and academic career advice, visit our publishing resources page. Fabio Rojas is an IHS senior fellow for the study of liberalism and a free society. Information on funding opportunities and programs can be found on our website, TheIHS.org.

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