Publishing as a Single Author

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Posted by Huong Le, community karma 241

In your opinion, how difficult is it (maybe in your own experience) to publish in a journal as a single author as a graduate student? The whole tasks seems daunting, adding to the fact that you're a no-name in a large group of people all wanting to get published.

about 11 years ago

4 Comments

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Lawrence Bowdish, community karma 347

I would argue that it is in fact difficult, but the process is one of those Sisyphean-tasks that our disciplines require of us.  Unlike some of those tasks, however, this one has some pretty useful purposes.

In my field, History, unless you are writing a textbook, you are writing as a single author.

I would go with the following tips/strategies.

1) Overshoot.  What is the pie in the sky journal in your field?  the Journal of Sweet Sociology?  Awesome Anthropology?  Go through the hoops of setting your article for their submission guildelines (which is a useful exercise in and of itself), and submit it.  You'll be rejected, but the notes you'll get can be useful.  Or, you'll be accepted, and your next 6 months are planned for you.

2) Conferences.  Go to them--and if you can get into the proceedings, awesome.  These get published from time to time, and sometimes become pretty prominent pieces.  Since it is a conference paper, it often will not really hamper you publishing a similar paper in a "proper" journal later on, but builds you up.

3) Lean on your advisor.  Can your advisor get you a leg up into any journal?  This, for better or worse, might foreshadow how your job search is going to go.

Lawrence

about 11 years ago
My friends and I have always joked we should put our adviser's name on our stuff to make sure it gets noticed, haha.
Huong Le – about 11 years ago
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Ben Lewis, community karma 63

My guess is the answer to your question will vary greatly depending on your field. In the biological sciences it would basically be unheard of, but my impression of other fields, anthropology for instance, is that it might be challenging, but would not be unheard of.

about 11 years ago
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Christopher Altes, community karma 59

Thanks Lawrence for the lead- I am going to go hunting for the perfect paper for Awesome Anthropology.

I've been presented with two possible routes. One is Lawrence's #1 and make your first publication count. Go for the gold. I've seen it work for people in our department, single authorship of articles in major journals. These people found academic jobs.

The second option is combines conferences, small journals, and edited volumes. Just keep putting out smaller, less prestigious work. Get accustomed to the submission and editing process. I've also seen people who went this route find positions.

At the moment I am aiming for small journals, proceedings, and books. It fits my schedule.

Of course Lawrence's #3 is on the money. Mr. Bowdish is an easy man with whom to agree.

about 11 years ago
I don't give them hell. I give them the truth, and they think it's hell.
Lawrence Bowdish – about 11 years ago
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Kyle Niemeyer, community karma 59

I'm coming from engineering (and I think the same is true in physics), but it's practically unheard of to publish as a single author as a grad student, unless the subject is unrelated to your thesis/dissertation (which would be strange). 

If you're doing any sort of experimental work, the probability goes down even further - who owns/controls the equipment? Who came up with the project? Who is funding you?

I think as a grad student, you are becoming an expert in your field, but you are learning from your advisor - so you should probably be writing your papers with his/her direction.

about 11 years ago
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