Let’s talk about writing for publication paper. This is you, and you might be thinking, “Why should I even think about publishing?” You’re a grad student, and that means that you’re being prepared as a practitioner scholar. You’re a practitioner because you’re learning to do, to be an active member and a leader in your profession. But you’re also being prepared as a scholar because you’re basing your actions and decisions on the literature and scholarship related to your field. You don’t act just on instinct or your gut, you bring with you the knowledge and the best practices of your field. You’re able to look at scholarship and see how it applies so that you can make it a best practice. You stand with a foot in each of these camps and are a bridge between practice and scholarship. That’s who you are as a grad student, so why should you write for publication paper? First of all, because you know things and you have things to say. Too often we think if we know something, then everybody must know it, or if we know something then it must not be that big of a deal or it must not be interesting to other people. And nothing could be further from the truth. You’re a grad student. You’ve had the opportunity to read books and research. You’ve had the opportunity to learn and discuss things with other people in your profession. Most of your peers and practitioners in the field have not had that opportunity. You know things, and those things are interesting and useful to other people in your field. Why else should you write for publication paper? Partly because you now, as a grad student, have an obligation to share with others and contribute to your profession. Because you’ve had the opportunity to learn and to discuss and to read, you have an obligation to share that information with others so that they can be better in the profession too. Finally, writing for publication paper gives you a chance to be a published author, and of course it’s cool to have an article published, but beyond the cool factor, publishing an article is a differentiator.
It’s something that makes you different from the average person and different from other people in your profession. It gives you one more thing to add to your resume or your CV, and when someone looks at your resume and CV and sees that you have published, they’ll know that you’re someone that goes above and beyond, and who contributes to his profession. Why don’t you write for publication paper? First, it’s possible that you never considered it. Part of becoming a practitioner scholar is learning that now you know things, and you are one of the people that will be contributing to the field and that will be writing and publishing articles. Second, you might think you don’t have anything useful or valuable to say. And of course, you’re wrong about that, but some of us do carry that with us, and that idea gets in the way of us deciding to publish. And then finally, you might not know how to go about publishing an article. When you’ve never published before, and you’ve never even thought of publishing, it’s hard to know where to even start. Nevermind how to go ahead and write your article, how to find a place to put it, and how to go ahead and submit it to that place. The great thing about working with others who do know how to publish is that you have someone who can partner with you, and who can help walk you through the process. Although these may have been reasons why you didn’t publish in the past, these are no longer good reasons to stand in the way of you publishing. There’s no reason for you to not publish if you’re interesting in publishing. Let’s take a look at the 3 types of publication papers in which a practitioner scholar can publish. There are basically 3 general types of publication papers. The first type are popular publication papers, and these are publication papers that are read by everyone, things like Time and Newsweek, Fast Company, SELF Magazine, so although you can write for these magazines, we’re not going to be talking about popular publication papers.
The 2 publication papers that we’re going to talk about writing for as practitioner scholars are, no surprise, practitioner publication papers and scholarly publication papers. Scholarly publication papers are sometimes referred to as peer-reviewed publication papers because in order to get published your article is reviewed by peers in your field. Practitioner publication papers are sometimes called professional publication papers or trade publication papers, and these are the publication papers that the working practitioners and leaders in your field read in order to improve themselves and keep up to date. Practitioner and scholarly publication papers are different, and we’re going to talk about 3 ways in which they’re different: the content of the publication papers, who decides if your article gets accepted for publication paper, and the benefit to you of publishing in each of these publication papers. Let’s start with content. In a practitioner publication paper, the content includes how-to articles, articles that share tips, tricks, best practices, processes, pretty much anything that would be helpful to a practitioner in the field. Although these articles in a practitioner publication paper may be based on literature and incorporate and build on the work and ideas of others, these are not written as scholarly articles. What that means is they won’t include the types and numbers of sources and citations that a scholarly article might include or that you’re used to including in the papers that you write as a graduate student. For example, practitioner publication papers are not APA formatted, and they’re written in a style that’s professional, but is maybe a little more accessible to the readers than you might find in other scholarly articles. On the other hand, scholarly publication papers will include research. This includes original research studies and literature reviews. Scholarly publication papers might also include articles that propose or that build theory. They’ll just include any kind of scholarship. Scholarly articles are based on and include the scholarship of others, so in your articles, you’re going to include many sources and citations from other scholarly work.
Scholarly articles typically will be formatted in APA or maybe some other standardized writing format. To give you examples of each of these publication papers, let’s imagine that we’re looking at publication papers in the field of training and development. A practitioner publication paper might be T&D magazine, which is published by the organization formally known as ASTD. And an example of a scholarly publication paper would be Adult Education Quarterly. Whatever your field, it’s likely that you’re going to have 1 or probably more practitioner publication papers, and at least 1 scholarly publication paper. The next thing that’s a little different between these publication papers is who decides if an article gets published. In a practitioner publication paper, typically that is the decision of the editor. The editor might decide that he or she wants changes, and then will work with you in order to get those changes, but the decision is typically the editor’s decision to make. This is as opposed to articles in scholarly publication papers. Articles in scholarly publication papers are peer reviewed. Because these articles include and represent scholarships, the editor will typically have 2 or more reviewers look at your article, and these reviewers themselves are familiar with the scholarship in the field in which you are writing, so they’re familiar with the content, and they have a history of publishing themselves. Because of this, that makes them good reviewers of your scholarship because their knowledgeable both in the content and their knowledgeable about the writing and publishing of scholarship. Typically your article will be sent to reviewers without the cover page. That way the reviewers don’t know who wrote the article, they’re not influenced by any names they might recognize in the authors of the articles, and the articles are reviewed strictly on the merit of the article. It’s possible that the reviewers are going to recommend that you make some changes, and depending on the extent of the changes, your article may go just to the editor or your article may go back for another round of review to those same reviewers.
What are the benefits in publishing to you? There are benefits in publishing in each of these types of publication papers, but the benefits of publishing in each of these publication papers are different. When you publish in a practitioner publication paper, you have the opportunity to contribute to practice. The readers of these publication papers are themselves practitioners, and they’ll use the ideas and the information in your article in order to improve themselves. It’ll improve their practices. It’ll improve their understanding of the field. When you publish in a practitioner publication paper, you’re also publishing in your professional community. You’re adding to and improving the body of practitioner knowledge in your field, and you’re sharing what you know with your professional colleagues. Because of that, publishing in the practitioner publication paper is a great way to build a reputation in your professional community beyond the walls of your employer. A practitioner publication paper might have regional, national, or international leadership, and those people will see your name attached to the article. The more you publish in practitioner publication papers, the more you can develop a reputation in your field. When you publish an article in a scholarly publication paper, you are contributing to the research and scholarship related to your field. The readers of scholarly articles are typically college students and academics. Most practitioners don’t read scholarly articles. Scholarly articles tend to be read by people who are working in or attending colleges and universities. If you are working at a college or university, you probably know that scholarly articles typically carry more weight, more importance than practitioner articles. If you’re in a tenure track position for example, your publication papers that you need in order to get tenure will probably need to be scholarly. Scholarly articles are the currency of higher education.
If you’re working in higher education, publishing in a scholarly publication paper is often seen as a greater accomplishment than publishing in a professional publication paper. You can see by looking at these lists that there’s benefits to you for publishing in each of these types of publication papers. Publishing in scholarly publication papers demonstrates your scholarship and builds your reputation with scholars and others in academia. Publishing a practitioner publication paper lets your contribute to the practice of your profession, and helps you build a reputation in your field among your practitioner colleagues. And in both cases, no matter where you publish, publishing is a way for you to contribute to your field, differentiate yourself from your peers, and become a published author. What are you waiting for? Seize the opportunity, take the plunge, and start your journey to becoming a published author this semester.
For scholars who don’t want to write for publications, global research letters (GRL) can be a helpful resource. Researchers may decide to use GRL as a platform to discuss their research findings and ideas with the larger scientific community rather than publishing their work. By doing this, scientists can still progress knowledge in their subject without the added stress of publishing in established scholarly journals.
Also, GRL can give researchers a beneficial chance to solicit advice and input from other authorities in their field, allowing them to hone their concepts and raise the calibre of their research. Early-career researchers who might not have access to conventional publishing channels or who might not be familiar with the publication process can especially benefit from this. Researchers can concentrate on the calibre of their work and its influence on the scientific community rather than on meeting the requirements of academic publishing by using GRL as an alternative to conventional publication channels.