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Avior Byron

My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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9 Tips for creating and publishing academic research

9 Tips for creating and publishing academic research

 
In this essay I will give a few tips for creating and publishing that I found helpful for myself.
 

1. Publish as early as possible

It is highly recommended to start publishing as early as possible. The challenge of writing something that might be accepted for publication is important for your development. It is not easy to publish material at a respected journal. Doing that, even when you are a student (I did it at my third year as a PhD student) will gain you important experience and confidence. It will help you prepare your material for the viva (if you are PhD student).
 

2. Gain experience by publishing reviews

If you just started writing (or want to start) you may want to start gain writing and publishing experience by writing reviews to books. You may approach journals such as Music and Letter, The World of Music or various online journals that are looking for reviews. This could help you write in a text that is not too long and see what happens when it is edited.
 

3. Publish at online journals

Some Universities do not appreciate online journals. They were (and at some places still do not) seem to be less valued as some printed journals. However, as Nicholas Cook wrote at my blog, this seems to be changing and more and more people find it important to publish at online journals. The advantage of this is simple. When your work is online it will clearly gain more reactions from scholars (and other people). The web is one of the strongest tools for research, and I am not talking only about Google Scholar, Google Books, online databases, JSTOR and various online indexes. It is also the simple web search that many scholars are using in order to reach information about what they are doing research. People will find your work on the web in an easier manner than on an offline journal, and they will react (if they find your work worth reacting to). I have published articles on the web form the very first start of my academic career and still do. It paid off. Look how many people found my research on the web and quoted or reacted to it in other ways.
 

4. Publish books online or offline?

Recently Daniel Leech Wilkinson published a whole book on the web. This is a very revolutionary act that more academic people on his level are not willing to make. His reasons are stated here:
 
it is quite unreasonable to ask the reader of a book like this, who may well be a student or an underpaid musician, to invest (as buyers of my last two books were required to invest) £60 ($85/120) or more in order to have a copy on hand for future reference. Almost all this sum remains with the publisher and distributors.
 
In a private conversation with Wilkinson, he told me that he does not recommend young scholars to publish books on the web. Such scholars should gain reputation and recognition by being published with a serious publisher. He does think that the future of publishing book is on the web and he hopes that this will reduce the costs of book. In any case, if you do publish on the web, I would recommend you not only to put it as an HTML document as Wilkinson did. Add also as a PDF document and remember to add it to Google Book (a process which is straight forward and fast).
 

5. Publish various types of publications.

Do not publish only articles or only books. Try to be active in publishing various sorts of publications: articles, books, book chapters, edit books, edit journals, reviews, and even blog posts, etc. This would gain you invaluable experience in various types of writings.
 

6. After every few years find new a direction

It is sad to see that some scholars simply recycle their work or even research methods again and again. Every few years try to reinvent yourself by actively seeking new ways of making research and new subjects. My research is on Schoenberg and performance. At these very days I am thinking about a new subject for doing research.
 

7. Discuss your research in conferences

One of the ways of checking your ideas is to present and discuss them at conferences. This is a way of receiving feedback as well as making good contacts.
 

8. Ask a friend to read your work

Sometimes a friend could give you valuable feedback even if this person is not an expert in your field. Such criticism (like any criticism) should always be listened to with caution. This brings us to our last point.
 

9. Listened to critics and readers with caution

I had the experience of receiving very negative response to one of my articles by two people. I asked did not back off and answered the journal why I think that the main arguments of these reviewers were not completely right. I asked that the article would be submitted again to other people who may be more open to my kind of research and this is what the journal editor did. At the end the article was not accepted to that journal. However, I have learned two things. The other two reviewers were much more helpful and kind. This proves my point that no one likes all types of research (and that the review process is not always objective). All reviewers gave me comments that helped me improve my article before sending it to another journal. This kind of experience was very important for me. In other words, do not give up. The process can be long and not pleasant. However, it will improve your writing.  
 

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One Response to “9 Tips for creating and publishing academic research”

  • Jonathan Dunsby responded:

    Re No. 8: In my circles we often used to quote a London University music theorist who would say, “always show your drafts to your worst enemy”! Something to think about in that.

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