Publishing an academic paper

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Research, scholarship and the traditions of academic publishing
A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

—Nelson Mandela[1]

As a student, you may be required to research and prepare an academic paper. An academic paper is the output of scholarly research work that is usually published in an academic journal after peer review.

Courses at the post-graduate level which incorporate an academic paper as part of the assessment requirements would normally require a paper of "publishable standard" to be produced. This means that your research paper will need to meet the generally accepted standards for academic publishing. Some courses may take this a step further by specifying the requirement for your paper to be accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal.

Preparing your first academic paper can be a daunting task in the absence of first-hand experience in academic publishing. A good place to start is to identify a peer-reviewed journal and to study the submission requirements. This resource is based on the the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, a peer-reviewed open access journal in the field of open distance learning to help you get started. We thought it would be a good idea to ask an experienced journal editor to offer a few thoughts on guiding new researchers in preparing an academic paper.

A free content video streamed from Vimeo

Terry Anderson, Athabasca University.

Meet Dr Terry Anderson

Professor Terry Anderson is Professor of Distance Education at Athabasca University and former Canadian Research Chair.

Terry served as the the Editor of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning for a decade and is able to provide well-founded advice and motivation for new scholars. We asked Terry to record a short video providing a few tips which you should read in conjunction with this blog post: A Publishing Primer for Education Grad students.

In this video, Terry underscores the importance of open access publishing to ensure that research outputs are accessible to people outside the academy and those who may not be able to afford expensive journal subscriptions. Terry suggests that students should "prepare for the test" by studying the author guidelines of peer reviewed journals. Also, it is well worth the effort of studying the review criteria which the peer reviewers will use for evaluating a paper for publication.

Above, all Terry reminds us that the overwhelming majority of papers published are accepted on the condition of reworking the paper based on the comments from the reviewers. So don't be surprised if you're asked to resubmit!

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Web Resources


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