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提高发表论文几率的25招

已有 1734 次阅读 2019-5-23 01:23 |个人分类:新观察|系统分类:教学心得| 作者, 編輯, 评审意见

提高发表论文几率的25

诸平

Laura Moss.jpg

Laura Moss

Professor

Editor, Canadian Literature

phone: 604-822-4226

Laura.Moss@ubc.ca

http://blogs.ubc.ca/lauramoss

毕业需要发表论文、评职晋升需要发表论文、申请经费需要发表论文、项目结题也需要发表论文,就在我们为发表论文而犯愁时,《加拿大文学》(Canadian Literature)的编辑劳拉•莫斯(Laura Moss)教授,以自己的工作经历,在与作者沟通与交流的过程中,她发现成功发表的文章总是具有某些共同的特征。她2019年5月15日专门撰文——25 Ways to Increase Your Chances at Publication,在文章中为提高论文发表几率给出了25种方法。她在文章中指出,作为一个学术期刊的编辑,经常有人会问到人们如何才能增加他们的文章发表的机会。在过去的五年里,她读了上千份读者报告(审稿意见),写了数百封决议书(投稿回信)。她注意到遗漏和存在的问题。她了解了同龄人读书的目的,以及他们的批评重点往往在哪里。她也知道,大多数学者同时扮演着作者和评价者的双重角色。因此,当她构思自己要为作者支招写这篇提高论文发表几率的25招时,她认为不应该仅仅局限于自己的观察,超越自己的观察可能是有益的。在脸书(Facebook)上,她问过她的同事,在给作者的回信中“你已经给了别人(作者)有用的建议/编辑反馈”吗?他们也提出了自己的看法。因此,下面引用的所有人都在脸书这个社交媒体平台上分享了他们的评论。我感谢所有参与者。有趣的是,几乎所有的评论都是她以前在同行评审报告中看到的。这种众包的建议粗略地说明了,虽然子领域可能有所不同,但读者所看重的可发表学术成果往往具有某些特性。

劳拉·莫斯博士在加拿大的多伦多大学获学士学位(University of Toronto, BA)、在圭尔夫大学获得硕士学位(University of Guelph, MA)、在皇后大学获博士学位(Queen’s University, PhD)。她是英属哥伦比亚大学(University of British ColumbiaUBC)的英语教授,教授加拿大文学和非洲文学。劳拉·莫斯自2004年起担任《加拿大文学》杂志副主编,2015年成为《加拿大文学》杂志主编。自2011年以来,她一直是CanlitguidesCanadian LiteratureTwitter)的特约编辑。劳拉·莫斯从2008年到2011年担任UBC加拿大研究项目和国际加拿大研究中心的主席。从2006年到2010年,她还担任加拿大人文社会科学联合会(CFHSS)学术出版物援助委员会的委员。自2012年春季成立加拿大文艺界女士团体 (Canadian Women in the Literary ArtsCWILA)以来,劳拉·莫斯一直是CWILA的活跃成员。2012年担任加拿大文艺界女士团体董事会成员(2012-2014年),2012年担任首届驻场评论家评审团主任(as manager of the jury for the Inaugural Critic-in-Residence in 2012). In 2013-14, Moss led the UBC GRSJ-CWILA Research Network.)。2013-2014年,劳拉·莫斯博士领导了UBC GRSJ-CWILA研究网络。除了她的五部编辑书籍,劳拉·莫斯博士发表了数百篇文章,并在文学教育、加拿大公共艺术政策、加拿大广播、以及加拿大温哥华市东(Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside)的公共纪念碑等都有她的贡献。2013年,她被授予UBC基拉姆教学奖(UBC Killam Teaching Prize for 2013)。

劳拉·莫斯博士的建议针对的是各个层次的学者,而不仅仅是刚刚步入科研行列的新手。我们都需要努力寻找最佳的方式来沟通我们的研究。成功的文章都有一些共同的元素,让它们成为阅读和引导阅读过程的乐趣:有力的论据、清晰的组织逻辑和明确的作者观点。她的意见分为三类:1)论文投稿前(有5条建议),2)文章本身(有13条建议),3)收到编辑部评审结果后(有7条建议)。几乎每一点都以她本人在给作者回信中以粗体写的评论开始。她谦虚的称自己的观点没有一个是特别震撼人心的——有些是显而易见的——然而,每一个观点都来自于数十个尚未遵循它的意见书。为了避免误解,还是将劳拉·莫斯博士提高论文发表几率的25招摘引于下,仅供参考。

1.论文投稿之前(Before Submission) 

No. 1. Follow submission guidelines. Seriously. Every journal has citation guidelines and word limits. If it says MLA 8, follow MLA 8. Submitting with another style and a note saying, “I’ll change it later if accepted,” signals that you don’t actually see the paper as a good fit in the journal. Similarly, the solution to a paper that is well over the word limit is not to submit it with a note “allowing” the editor to trim it, or saying that you’ll work with the reader’s reports and cut it if it is accepted. The solution is revision before submission.

No. 2. This paper has too many typos and grammatical errors to go forward to peer review. Submit polished, professional work. University of Alberta professor of English and film studies Julie Rak simply asks us to “write as clearly as you can about complex things.” Let the ideas give weight, not the sentence structure. Do not just assume that copy editors will fix it for you. While finding typos is oddly satisfying, I don’t really relish fixing comma splices.

No. 3. Peer review is not problem solving. It is a mistake to submit your article because you are stuck and really looking for feedback. This is where you should share drafts with trusted friends or colleagues. It is not the job of the editor or peer reviewers to break your impasse.

No. 4. Do you know the audience of the journal? A good rule of thumb is to submit to the journals you read and cite most often. You are already participating in their ongoing conversations. You will also know approximately what level of expertise and knowledge your readers might have. My colleague Judith Paltin, assistant professor in the department of English language and literatures at the University of British Columbia, says this: “I’m working on a review right now in which confusion about audience is really evident. The article would neither satisfy specialists, who would be irritated by the extensive foregrounding of seminal scholarship, nor a more heterogeneous audience who still has to wade through a lot of other voices to hear the author’s argument. In short, stop putting other people’s voices ahead of your own as an author.” I absolutely love the final point here.

No. 5. Sharpen your abstract. Spend time polishing the abstract that you submit with the article. It should summarize the article’s intervention, spell out the core research questions and note the central objects under consideration. The abstract is the article’s first impression. Make it snappy. If you can’t articulate your argument and your contribution to the field clearly in the abstract, you might not have been clear enough in the article, either.

2. 文章本身(The Article Itself)

No. 6. How would you assess this article? We ask peer reviewers to consider the following criteria in their assessments of articles for my journal: soundness of scholarship, quality of style, coherence of argument. You should ask yourself about these categories before submitting your paper. Be honest.

No. 7. Who cares? According to Patricia Badir, professor of English at UBC, you should “let your readers really see how this text or issue interests you: What’s paradoxical? What’s puzzling? What’s surprising?” In the same vein, I can’t stress the significance of “So what?” enough. Life is short. Why should I spend an hour reading this article? I want to know the answer in the opening paragraphs. We all teach students to ask these two fundamental questions. We should keep asking them of our own work.

No. 8. You need to hook the reader. I often write this statement in decision letters as I send back articles with a request to make the introduction more immediately engaging and to show why it is urgent at the outset. Ask core questions up front. Is it imperative that people read your work? Why now? Epigraphs are your good friends. Take a bit of time in the opening pages to emphasize your contribution to the topic or field. Note that the knowledge gap -- “no one has done this, so I will” -- is never enough.

No. 9. The logic of organization in this article is unclear. Katja Thieme, instructor in the department of English language and literatures at UBC, points to the value of “establishing a sense of trust in the project that there isn’t just the big bold argument or claim or question that the article asserts, but also and right away, at the beginning, a clear road map.” If written in a way that is not simply a cataloging of what is to come, the map can lead to the wonderful sense of “aha! I see the logic of where we are going. Let’s go!”

No. 10. Who are you writing for? As Professor Mary Bryson of the department of language and literacy education at UBC notes, “interdisciplinary work by definition needs to imagine and build its own audience.” If you are imagining an audience, imagine out loud.

No. 11. Who are you in conversation with? While your original article is not a place for an extensive literature review, it is a good place to demonstrate what ongoing conversations you are jumping into or scholarship you are building on. This should be a tight page or three, not half the article. Lorraine York, Distinguished University Professor at McMaster University, looks for “a confident sense of intervention” and notes that “in the most successful articles I read, I feel the excitement at joining that conversation and potentially steering it in a fresh direction. At the same time, that previous conversation shouldn’t overshadow the author’s voice.” Self-confidence doesn't mean posturing or arrogance. It does mean that you believe that you have something significant to add. Also, note that textual interlocutors sometimes come to life. There is a chance that your peer reviewers will come out of your own works cited list. Are you being fair in your articulation of their ideas?

No. 12. Clarify your citational practices. Here I ask my three favorite questions: Who speaks for whom? Who listens? Who profits? Sandra Tomc, professor of English at UBC, tells us that “the willingness to cite scholarship is probably most important” in her assessment of articles. If research articles are incursions into continuing conversations in the field, whose voices are being heard? As Bryson reminds us, “cite minority voices.” Look at a variety of perspectives -- don’t just cite the usual suspects.

No. 13. Stop putting other people’s voices ahead of your own, as Paltin says. Avoid name-dropping, particularly theorists. If the work of Jacques Rancière is central to your argument, by all means bring it in. But don’t just cherry-pick a term (“what Rancière calls ‘X’”) without a discussion of where Rancière coined the term, how he uses it and to what end. Is it really worth the necessary space to use the term? If it is, super. Can your voice be heard in the cacophony of theorists?

No. 14. Reader A is concerned that there is not enough critical engagement with existing scholarship on X. Critical engagement is key here, not just citation. The first thing I do when assessing a new submission is to check the works cited and ask how the author has tracked existing scholarship, how up-to-date (all from 20 years ago?) and historically deep (all from last year?) their references are, how extensive their research is (all online? All from one collection?), and how they have entertained a range of views (counterarguments, existing criticism). Then I read to see how in-depth their interaction with the scholarship is.

No. 15. Make room for sustained intellectual and analytical engagement with quoted material. It is the author’s job to take the reader through the implications of the passage/case at hand and to relate it to the developing argument. Don’t be afraid to slow down and dig deep into the primary or secondary material. Your original voice will come through here.

No. 16. Avoid theme spotting. Enough said.

No. 17. This paper is overly ambitious. Your article is not your dissertation in synopsis or a preview of your upcoming book. Significant contributions to scholarship can be minute and still have impact. As Hannah McGregor, assistant professor in publishing at Simon Fraser University, says, “It is fine to grapple with your subject matter and not solve everything.” Polished does not mean closed down. Further, associate professor of English at UBC Robert Rouse notes that, for him, a great article is one that “moves my understanding along.” Really, that’s what we are trying to do: move understanding along. It can be incremental. That’s how knowledge is mobilized in the long run.

No. 18. What do you want your reader to remember the most? (Hint: this is likely your contribution to the field.) Conclusions are not just summaries. At the end of an article, you need to make sure that your reader leaves with a takeaway message/point/question. What brief notes would you make if reading your own article? Again, be honest.

3. 收到编辑部评审结果后(After the Report )

No. 19. We won’t be moving forward with your article. The majority of articles receive a decision of revise and resubmit (RR) or rejection. You weren’t turned down, your paper was. Try not to take it personally.

No. 20. Both readers have given you detailed and careful feedback. Contrary to popular belief about the dreaded Reader B, in my experience the vast majority of peer-review reports are sent with the intention of moving scholarship along. I wish more people could see the effort and generous spirit many colleagues put into their reports, reports that are often only viewed by the editor and the writer. Sharing this generosity is actually the best part of being an editor.

No. 21. You are welcome to request that your article not go back to Reader B upon resubmission. My previous point notwithstanding, not all readers are wonderful. If you don’t think the reader gets your article or is unfair, feel free to request not to send it back to them.

No. 22. Take the readers’ reports as advice. Reports are advice to the author, not nonnegotiable instructions. Peer readers are well-qualified experts, to be sure, but they have spent hours with the work that you have spent months or years on. Mainly, they are signaling places of confusion, contradiction, omission or points that need clarification or elaboration. Do not completely rewrite according to the recommendations of a single report and in the process lose your own voice. Your name is on the article, not the name of the anonymous reviewer. You have to stand by it.

No. 23. Let me know what you’ve done. Upon resubmission, if RR, I recommend including a letter to the editor noting the changes you have made, listing the suggestions you have taken up and explaining the ones you have chosen not to engage.

No. 24. Why didn’t you read the peer reviewers' recommendations? If a reviewer suggests reading something, you must read it. The recommendation signals that they think you are missing a key part of the conversation. You have to listen. If it doesn’t fit, then let the editor know in the revisions explanation letter. More articles get rejected on the second round by the original reader with the comment that “they didn’t even bother to follow up on my recommendations and the holes are still there” than with any other comment.

No. 25. Onward! Everything we do is a work in progress. If your article is accepted, you still have to work with the editor to polish and tighten it. This will take many hours. If it is RR, then breathe deeply and dig in to the reports. If rejected, read the reports and try to find the valuable suggestions for improvement before submitting elsewhere. Early in my career, I put an article in a drawer after a stinging decision and time passed. It is still not published, and I regret that. If your paper is rejected, take it as a sign that the article is not ready yet, and don’t give up.



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