Skills for Academic Paper Writing & Publishing

07 Aug 2023
Writing an academic paper for journals requires “utmost attention and killer instinct,” according to Soo Hee Lee, Professor of Organization Studies at the University of Kent. He spoke on the “Skills for Academic Paper Writing & Publishing” at the Sasin Research Seminar held at Sasin School of Management. The research seminar benefits students and academics trying to get their academic papers published in international journals. Professor Lee, whose academic papers are in the Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, and Journal of Management Studies, and Research Policy, addressed the first consideration when a person wants to submit their papers. The academic world has the saying, “Publish or Perish!” but Professor Lee asked the writer to consider these questions before submission: Why do you bother to publish? Why do we need to publish it in the first place? “We have to have more considerations of why you want to write something and communicate your ideas to others, so the purpose is quite important,” he emphasized. Second, writing academic papers take meticulous and hard work. Professor Lee said that while freshers look for shortcuts and quick ways to get their research paper published, there’s no such thing. Writing academic journals also takes strong motivation and at least ten years of experience, balancing research with teaching, administrative work, and helping others find jobs, while finding your own niche and specialization. Academics also need to attend to seemingly menial but important tasks in addition to writing papers. “People are not so keen to do the usual things– to publish a good paper, you have to review papers, you have to read up-to-date research in the journals of your field, engage with the communities…” said Professor Lee. In addition, before embarking on a research paper topic, one must ask the simple question and identify key references: What are your key research problems and questions related to the topic? Research must look into an interesting problem and work on theoretical development, recognizing what gaps in the scientific explanation and evidence need to be filled. Professor Lee said that theoretical development is made when you come up with a novel but logically consistent explanation and a fresh argument for the relationships or linkages between well-defined constructs. The best academic papers identify a debate that is going on, engaging in the current debate more deeply and criticizing the conventional wisdom. “When ideas have become diffused, you have to pull them together, integrate them, and position yourself,” said Professor Lee. The five components of a good research paper are novelty/originality (question/argument), methodological rigor (quality and quantity of data), reliability, validity, and robustness of the method. With that in mind, Professor Lee provided a variety of valuable tips for writing an academic paper that has a higher chance of being published: Craft an engaging title: Professor Lee advises the writer to rewrite the title several times, ensuring clarity, causality, conciseness, representativeness, and attractiveness. Clearly state in the abstract what the unique and valuable contribution is in this paper: “Do not hold the reader in suspense as to the principle issue, method, key findings, argument, and contributions in the study. Tell all the five components of an academic paper on page 1 of the paper,” said Professor Lee. Include a paragraph in your letter of submission telling what is unique and valuable in your paper: To avoid rejection letters that say, “Your paper is quite well-written but it is not for us,” always include in the cover letter a paragraph on what the paper is about, making sure that the subject is relevant to the journal you’re submitting to. In addition, always discuss and cite three or more articles from the target journal. Seek feedback from experts and colleagues: Before submission, ask three experts or colleagues to review your paper and provide comments. Professor Lee advises all scholars to revise their papers using the comments from experts and colleagues. He also recommends giving a seminar to colleagues or attending conferences to gather feedback and improve your paper. Remember to acknowledge those who have helped you in the published paper. Respond to revision invitations: “An invitation to revise increases the chances of acceptance to 50-50 from 10-90,” said Professor Lee. He advises complying with the reviewers’ requests whenever possible. Pay attention to missing references, and biases in data sources, and address them accordingly. Include a detailed response to each reviewer’s comments and explain how the revised version is stronger. Submit your revised paper promptly without procrastinating. Consider assistance from a Native English Speaker: If you’re a non-native speaker, a native speaker can translate your paper into American English or British English language. He added that a native speaker can help spend 20 to 40 hours, editing the paper, and often re-analyzing the data and rewriting the findings and contributions. Pay attention to grammar and style: Be meticulous about grammar, style, and proper writing rules. Use active voice, avoid phrases like ‘furthermore’ or ‘resulting in,’ and review word length to ensure clarity and conciseness. In conclusion, Professor Lee advises that a good academic papers worthy of publication should make theoretical contributions and provide original insights that enhance existing theoretical knowledge in a field. It should also demonstrate craftsmanship, encompassing clarity, consistency, and cogency. By adhering to these principles, scholars can submit papers that have a greater chance of being published, thus making a valuable contribution to the vast realm of knowledge in the world.  
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