Choosing the right venue for sharing your research
There are many ways to share the results of your research. Building a profile as a researcher can help you to become more well known in the field, enhance the visibility of your work, and increase the number of researchers who read your work when it is published in journals. You can share information about your research through a professional website, Twitter, social media platforms such as LinkedIn and by maintaining a research blog. It is also a good idea to communicate with the communications and development offices at your institution to find out about any opportunities to share information through newspaper articles, local television channels, and newsletters.
Because peer-reviewed articles generally carry more weight on decisions about retention, tenure, and promotion, academics focus much of their efforts on disseminating research through journals. But there are several venues, in addition to journal publications, that you can use to share your work with others in the field and to build a reputation as a respected researcher. These opportunities can be used as a stepping stone to the publication of full peer-reviewed academic papers.
There are many different academic venues to choose from. One such venue is a conference hosted by a professional organization in your field. These are wonderful opportunities to share your work with other academics, as well as elicit input and comment on the research that you are conducting. Professional conferences also provide some great networking opportunities and they are a good first step in building name recognition. You can submit proposals to share your work at local chapters of a professional organization, at national conferences, and at international conferences. You should talk to colleagues about which conferences have the highest reputation in your field and then visit the websites to find out about the proposal submission process. Major professional organizations typically hold a large general conference once a year, and some hold specially themed, smaller meetings or conferences at multiple points across the year.
Typically, when you submit a proposal for a conference presentation you choose from several options. Full workshop papers provide you with an opportunity to write a full research paper and present on the results. Many professional organizations have a peer-review process for evaluating proposals and many publish full papers in a proceeding. These generally count in a retention, tenure and promotion process, although they are typically not weighed as heavily as publications in peer-reviewed journal articles. However, this is a great way to write early versions of your research, get your name out there, and gain experience with writing full research papers. You can use these presentation opportunities to get feedback on your paper. For several large conferences, if your paper is accepted, you will be placed in a session with other researchers presenting on a similar topic and your session will be hosted by a chair.
If you are early in the research process, and perhaps not quite ready to write a full paper, there are other options for presenting at conferences available to you. A roundtable session generally requires a shorter write-up of your research and can include research projects in progress. In these sessions, you sit with other academics who are conducting research on the same, or a similar topic and you discuss your work. This is an invaluable opportunity to get feedback on your research and to hear ideas about other approaches to researching your topic of interest. Participating in roundtables can also help you move further along the path to a full research paper. Conferences sometimes offer an option for early research projects to be presented through extended abstracts and these can sometimes be presented as a poster. When you choose this option, you will typically prepare a professional poster for display in a large poster session where you stand beside your poster while attendees come by and ask questions.
Different rules exist for publishing an article on research that has already be presented at a conference. Often, you will not present the fully completed research paper at a conference, and your analysis will only be a preliminary analysis. This is typically the case for roundtables, abstract presentations, short papers or poster sessions. If this is the case, then in general you can write a full-length article on the completed research and submit for publication in a journal. However, if you submitted a full-length paper that was then published in the conference proceedings, then generally you cannot also submit this for publication in a journal. As the proceedings count as a publication, this would be akin to publishing the same article in two different venues, which is not considered ethical. The submission policy for papers that have been previously published at a conference should be available on any journal website. If you are unsure, you should feel comfortable reaching out to the journal editor and asking about this aspect of their submission policy before preparing and submitting your paper. It is typically acceptable to present your published work at a conference, if the organization hosting the conference allows this. Check the host organization’s policies before you submit an application to present a paper that has already been published.
Other venues for publication include edited books where different researchers contribute by writing a book chapter. These books are organized around a topic and often a call will go out for chapter proposals. These books tend to focus on reviews and summaries of research topics. This can be a wonderful opportunity for a collaborative writing experience. Early researchers can work with more seasoned researchers on these chapters and experience the writing and revising process. So, as you make connections with more seasoned colleagues at your institution, or through professional organizations, look for collaborative writing opportunities like this as a first step to experiencing the academic writing process. This also can help you begin to get your name out into the academic world.
Publishing articles in top-tier journals is the gold star of academic publishing. These journals generally focus on the publication of completed research. The articles in these journals are usually longer than conference papers and they go through a rigorous peer-review process. Preparing and revising journal articles is a time-intensive process, and often it requires multiple rounds of submission and revision for a paper to be accepted. The reward is that they are typically given the most weight when decisions about tenure and promotion are made. As you consider how best to share your research with the academic world, with the aim being to publish articles in top-tier journals, also consider the opportunities provided by other venues. Availing of a variety of venues will help you to hone your academic writing skills, collaborate with other researchers, gain ideas about how to structure your papers, and start to build a reputation in the field.
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