CSC Workshop: Publishing Your First Article

If you missed the CSC workshop led by Craig Willse about publishing your first peer-reviewed article, check out these highlights taken from Christine Rosenfeld's notes. 

Why Publish?

Publishing is about both intellectual and professional development.  Publishing is an opportunity to enter into intellectual conversations that you want to join and circulate your ideas.  It is a way to carve out your niche of expertise. 

Tips: Keep up to date on what is being published in journals of interest and make note of key debates, theorists, terms, and research gaps referenced

Building an Intellectual Project

Consider following this trajectory as a model:

Seminar paper-->conference paper-->journal article-->dissertation chapter-->book chapter

Tips: Strategically choose which conferences to attend that will help you end up in the intellectual community you desire

Reverse Engineering

Take apart a published article that is part of an existing intellectual conversation in a journal you want to publish your piece in order to understand how it works and use it as a model.  This practice helps teach you about the conventions of a journal of interest, which gives you knowledge of how to cater your piece to a particular journal.  Ultimately, this helps to assess the goodness of fit between your target journal and article. 

Tips: Remember that you can only submit your article to one journal at a time, so be sure to cater your piece to the conventions of the desired journal

Elements of an Article

The first part of a good journal article will do the following: clearly and concisely state the goals of the article, introduce the theoretical framework into which your research is situated (this helps to orient the reader and situate your scholarly questions and contributions within a wider intellectual conversation), identify a research gap by outlining what others have said about your topic, and introduce an object or case. 

The object or case featured in your article should be one of the following:

1—a new thing/object/idea/case that is located in an existing framework


2—a familiar thing/object/idea/case that is positioned in a new framework

Include either an integrated or stand-alone discussion of your research methods (often depends on the journal conventions) before discussing your object in detail. 

A good conclusion consists of a take-away message for the reader that changes the reader’s thinking and/or invites responses. The conclusion gives you the opportunity to make your research object translatable to readers.

The Peer Review Process

The first thing that happens when you submit an article to a journal is that the editorial staff determine if it is a good fit for the journal based on your topic.  If it is, the article will be sent to 2-3 peer reviewers with topical expertise who will assess and comment on the quality of your work.  The editors get this assessment and do one of four things:

1—Accept your article

2—Accept with specific revisions

3—Revise and resubmit

Based on the peer reviewer feedback, you will revise the article and send it back with a detailed letter explaining how you chose to incorporate (or not) reviewer suggestions into the revised piece


You should still receive feedback from the peer reviewers

Tips: If you send an article and hear nothing after 1 month, check in with the journal and if you still hear nothing after another month, check again. 

General Tips

-Publish no more than 1-2 articles from the same research project if you are planning to publish a book out of the same work

-Book reviews are a good way to enter into an intellectual conversation and may give you opportunities to interact with editorial staff, but they do not “count” in the same way as single authored, peer-reviewed journal publications do

-Different publication formats, such as online journals, may offer you the freedom to experiment with your thinking or express ideas in ways that you cannot in peer-reviewed journals and thus may be appropriate depending on your personal and academic goals