Please find here some impressions collected by Charlie Dannreuther from the EAEPE2016 "Journals Session" in Manchester:
- Forum for Social Economics
- Compeition and Change
- European Journal of Economics and Economics Policies: Intervention (EJEEP)
- Régulation Review
- PSL Quarterly Review
How to Get Published in Academic Journals: Some Advice for Those at the Beginning of an Academic Career
by Geoff Hodgson
Don’t read this if you want to get published in the most prestigious mainstream journals of economics. I have published two articles in the Economic Journal and one in the Journal of Economic Literature, and no others that would qualify for a good job in a top mainstream economics department in the USA or UK. Their focus is on a narrow range of mathematically saturated articles. However, I have published over 90 articles in academic journals, with several in good B-ranked outlets such as the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and the Cambridge Journal of Economics.
Having outlined my qualifications (or lack of them) for writing this essay, my first piece of advice would be to ask yourself what you propose to say in your would-be publication. Can you summarise its content in two or three sentences? If so, is this content important and worthwhile?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then you are probably not making the best use of your time. Writing is hard work, and wasted hours would have been better spent elsewhere. A good, original journal article will take hundreds of hours of research and writing.
A common mistake is to try and say too much. A journal article should rarely aim to establish more than three principal propositions, and often one can be enough. Don’t digress; don’t try to pack too much in. It is also important that your argument flows clearly, and every step is substantiated by evidence or cited previous research in the literature. Academic writing is not journalism. Neither is it political speech-writing. Intelligent readers of a good academic journal will not be swayed by your normative views unless they flow directly from the evidence or arguments that you have mustered.
When your article begins to take shape, pay considerable attention to its structure and your writing style. An introductory section should explain the problem and outline your contribution. A concluding section should point to the main established propositions and add any necessary qualifications.
Over twenty years ago I read some advice on how to write in a magazine article by John Kenneth Galbraith. Above all he emphasised the need to rewrite a draft several times. I strongly agree. However, most writers have difficulty returning to a text and making the necessary revisions. If this is the case, then I suggest that you leave it alone for week, and then return to check to see if it reads clearly and flows logically. Put yourself in the position of a sceptical reader, perhaps one of a viewpoint that you are trying to criticise. Would she be shifted by your argument? How would he respond?
Aim to revise your entire article at least three times. Remember that it will go to overworked, unpaid and sceptical editors and referees who will be irritated by inexactitudes, vaguenesses, ambiguities, irrelevances and needless repetitions. Try to persuade them with fine, clear prose. Good science is like crystal. Cult leaders and faddish gurus, rather than enduringly successful scientists, rely on the technique of using long, obscure words for their own sake. Bad grammar, unclear expressions, spelling mistakes and missing references will also irritate the referees. Such easily spotted mistakes will reinforce any – warranted or unfounded – suspicion that your work is unscholarly or unsound. Don’t provide them with an excuse. Check and re-check every detail. If you are not publishing in your native language then get the text checked by a native speaker before you submit it to a journal.
When choosing a journal that might publish your article, make sure that you are familiar with its recent issues. Read the notes for contributors carefully, especially concerning aims, content, length and house style. If you cannot comply, then do not submit.
Finally, if your writing ceases to be rewarding or worthwhile, then it is best to quit. There is little merit in joining the publications rat-race for its own sake. But if you have something important to say, then it is well worth working long and hard to have it accredited in an academic publication.