Saturday, January 2, 2016

A checklist for researching, writing and publishing academic papers - Part 1

Did you make sure you reviewed the targeted journal’s archived published papers for format, style and content matter and read papers similar to your own content? 
Did you check to see if the journal you have chosen is on the Beall List? (Updated January 5, 2016).
If the journal you wish to publish in is on this list, in Thailand for many academic programs, you cannot use this journal, publisher or content amalgamator (such as SciAlert) for publishing your paper.
Did you verify that the targeted journal is on your faculty/department’s ‘approved’ list for your academic degree level?  Most faculties today require Scopus indexed journals.
What is Scopus?
Scopus indexed Malaysian journals.
Scopus indexed Vietnamese journals.
Scopus indexed Thai journals.
Did you read the journal’s ‘submission guidelines’ and comply with them?  Editors for non-Beall listed journals use proper formatting as a condition for immediate rejection of your paper.  If you submitted your paper to a Sage journal (APA format) first and then try and submit the paper to an Inderscience journal (Harvard format), I am 100% sure your paper will be returned to you.
Did you use the correct style guide for your targeted journal?

Even though APA is most popular in the social sciences, sometimes the IEEE style is used. The publishing powerhouse Inderscience uses yet another, called ‘Harvard’.
Today with over 1,000 publishers ‘Beall Listed’, the options available for doctoral students to publish their papers in has plunged with the end result being that the remaining ‘higher tier’ editors being overwhelmed with papers.  Some editors have stated their submissions have increased 500% and where before they tried to mentor authors and their submission, today editors look for ANY REASON to reject a paper with two of the most commonly mentioned items being English and following the journal’s style (e.g. APA, Harvard, Chicago, IEEE, etc.)

Did you use Google alerts to stay abreast of your topic’s contents? If you are doing research about digital literacy, the Thai automotive industry or tea or rubber production, almost every day Google will send you information to your Google email about your topic. Read them and use them!

Simple to signup for. Login to your Google Gmail account and the go to this URL. 
Easy as that!
Did you make your best effort to use citations that are no older than 5 years old? Too many references older than 5 years start to raise red flags for both reviewers and editors, especially when your paper is concerned with industry topics such as automotive parts, rubber, trade, manufacturing, etc.
Did you try your very best to use English language references? 

Please try and remember that your research is targeted to an international English language publication with readers scattered around the world, who are like you and use English as a second language.  Submitting a reference to a Thai only report, study, government report, etc. will not make you any friends with your editors, reviewers or potential readers. A Thai study is great, but if referenced to a Thai language version only is not so great.  Most journals will reject the reference in the final proofing and ask for an English language link.
Did you ‘internationalize’ your research? This is a top reason for rejection in the initial editor screening.

You know where Samut Prakarn is but does someone in Berlin reading your paper about Thai auto parts know where it is? Many times I get papers with titles and abstracts that give no indication about where the research took place.  At least try and use the words 'Thailand' or 'Thai' somewhere in the title or abstract.  Simply talking about 'Chiang Mai Tea Production' says nothing to most of the world about where the research was conducted.  If you are still thinking about your research on Thai rubber production, why not expand it and also relate the research to the Asean community?
Did you make sure each citation in the body is referenced in the reference section?  It astounds me that the citations and references do not match in over 80% of the papers I receive for editing and publication.  This is a serious problem!

Use Word’s ‘find’ feature to verify each and every name.  If you don’t, I am 100% sure your paper will be returned as someone else did!

The screening editors at the Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences (KJSS) knowing this is a terrible problem make all authors go back and find each citation and cite the page and line in the reference section:

Did you use to make your online references shorter and more consistent?  This is a wonderful resource that dramatically shortens your paper when you are linking to online documents.
See the following example:

You DO NOT want your paper to look like this!


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