ALA Session: Riding the Publishing Rollercoaster

On Monday afternoon, I struggled to choose between a session on publishing and one on cloud computing. Tough choice! Practicality prevailed, however, and so I opted to add more insight into the process of academic publishing to my copious notes from LIS631. This session did not disappoint!

I took so much away from the panel that’s worth sharing. What follows is a direct, lightly edited transcript of my notes:

Kathryn Deiss, ACRL publishing:

– Question yourself: where can I contribute? What do I have to say?

– Need for white papers, position papers, and reports. We’ll focus on books first

– ACRL = non-commercial, flexible in things they try/do, focus on college/univ. libraries

– Think: content! Content is king! We need to think deeply: does my content matter? Is it needed? Why? How does this advance our thinking in the profession?

– Do all of this before you propose, then fill out the online form [to submit an abstract or finished paper].

– Be creative about content. For example: book with chapters written with departments other than the library. This goes for publishers too! Could co-publish with other companies.

– Be creative in thinking about subject matter, and also about format.

– Think while you write; keep it clean and to the point. Simple and direct.

– Ask about publisher’s pet peeves and avoid them! For example, papers submitted with incorrect citation style.

Katherine O’Clair, editor for a book on information literacy in environmental science:

– Practical and theoretical advice on editing a book w. multiple chapters, process of bringing together content –

– First, call for papers. Be specific as to requirements of the chapter authors (CV, writing sample, abstract). Clarify intent for the whole of the publication. Another way to go might involve directly inviting authors you know.

– Editors: try to think big picture so as to guide your authors, even if introductory material will be written after chapters are in. Authors love guidelines.

– Write for your professional commitments. Write about that which you enjoy.

– Stay tuned to submission dates on all sides. Authors, if you know you will be late, let your editors know. Stay in touch.

– Authors should expect edits – technical as well as related to content. There may even be rounds of edits; it’s important to keep track of versions.

– Find a friendly proof reader before sending chapters to your editor.

– Make sure when you’re submitting that your citations are correct.

– Ask lots of questions along the way.

– Coauthors can be helpful but also stressful.

Wendi Arant Kaspar, journal editor for Library Leadership and Management and Journal of Academic Librarianship:

– Journal submissions are not transactional events; they are iterative.

– Editors rec. lots of submissions; avoid shopping around your article. This doesn’t help your chances of getting published!

– Be sure to read and carefully follow submission guidelines. Make sure the articles you send in are well edited.

– Remember: editors are stewards of the publication. They are following the scope of the publication as closely as possible. Their mission is to follow precedent while following current trends.

– It is ok for authors to follow up in the status of their submission and to hold people accountable to the timeline they set.

– Do a literature search in advance of submitting as a measure of due diligence. What has already been said on this topic? Be sure to cite these articles, including any previous contributions of your own.

– Write something you feel passionately about; write to your calling.

– Bring passion and energy to your topic. This will make your content pleasurable to read.

David Lankes, author and professor at Syracuse.

– Have something to say! Data is not inherently interesting.

– Projects generate publications.

– Think about your impact. What are your goals? Think about the arc of your research.

– Don’t publish to get rich!

– Expand your definition of research: conceptual pieces are okay too! Publishing needn’t be a datafest.

– Papers are vital to academic promotion in LIS. They are the most citeable. Empirical papers, project spin-offs are easiest to publish. Venue matters. Work on something interesting and present it; invites to publish will arise.

– Books are energy intensive and cited least often. Quality of the press matters here as well. Don’t expect full service; you may need to pony up for expenses like touring in support of the book.

– Remember: this is an author’s market! If you truly want to, you can get published.

Char Booth:

– Writing is hard! Can be painful and frustrating. BUT there’s meaning to be found in the work.

– Be nice to your editors, even after your paper returns with red ink. Their jobs aren’t easy either.

– Revising is a pain too, but necessary.

– The process of writing is what makes meaning, not just the outcome.

– Motivation and balance are required.

– Advice: think about the spectrum of publishing – how many ways does writing happen in your life? Your voice and persona are evident thru all of these venues. Make every tweet, blog post, email count! People will read that which is well written. Be the person people want to read.

– Archive ALL of your writing, even the stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor. This content can be sorted through for inspiration at a later time.

– Point / purpose / tone / time

– Keep feasibility in mind. If you can’t do it, don’t do it.

– Document your work! Archive everything you’ve done, even the cut bits.

– Take space from writing as necessary.

– Find like minded folks to act as editors. Find reciprocal relationships.

– Be humble and kind to yourself; be humble and kind to others.

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Filed under Conference considerations, Thoughts from Davis

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