Responding to commonly asked questions and wanting to address some of the unasked questions, eSharp ran a lecture series at the University of Glasgow in February and March 2006 called ‘Writing for Scholarly Journals’. The series was well-attended and featured a number of experienced academics from universities in the West of Scotland. However, the lectures could only ever reach a comparatively small number of eSharp’s readership and potential authors, and other postgraduates. Also, there were people who wished to contribute to the project but were unable to attend any of the available lecture slots. This e-book hopes to make up for some of these unavoidable shortcomings.
Firstly, it is available free online through the eSharp website, hopeful reaching a wider audience. Secondly, the contributors have in some cases gone into more detail than they were able to in their initial presentations. Thirdly, we have been able to include a contribution from Clare Morton, Oxford Journals (Oxford University Press), on the publication process from submission to print, which was not part of the original lecture series. Unfortunately, Dr Rowena Murray, who gave one of the lectures, was unable to contribute to this volume. Luckily, her quite extensive works on academic writing (see Further Reading section) are available for readers to explore further points raised here.
This book is intended to be a brief introduction to writing for scholarly publication and does not claim to be a comprehensive handbook on the subject. It is a compendium covering some pertinent issues relating to postgraduates writing specifically for scholarly journals. For some, this will confirm what they already knew; for some it will be a sufficient top-up of their knowledge; for others it might be a springboard into the wider literature provided in the Further Reading section.
In doing so, Professor Corbett relates how these structural features correlate with the rhetorical purposes of research articles, i.e. to communicate some unique contribution and make this relevant to work that has gone before. Following on from this writer-centred perspective, Clare Morton, a senior editor for Oxford Journals, surveys the publication process from the point of submission to print. In this chapter the reader gains insight into the publication process and how it should impact on how one produces scholarly articles. Of particular interest might be Clare’s advice on presentation, handling copyright permissions and conflicts of interest. This chapter also discusses who holds copyright on your paper and some of the changes affecting in the publishing industry. Professor Graham Caie’s contribution places publication within the context of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). In this chapter Professor Caie provides some much needed background information on the RAE and the assessment of research publications. The final section lays out some further reading.
These include books of the self-help variety as well as some references for texts in applied linguistics and educational studies that have researched various aspects of scholarly writing, from structural features of texts to the emotional- and time-management aspects of the writing process. The book is designed to explore writing for scholarly journals from numerous perspectives: from the point of view of the student, the writer, the reader, the publisher, the reviewer and reviewed. Diligent readers might notice the repartition of certain points in several of the chapters.
The revision can be done at the macrostructure and the microstructure levels . The macrostructure revision includes the revision of the organization, content, and flow. The microstructure level includes individual words, sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.The best way to approach the macrostructure revision is through the outline of the ideas in your paper. The last time you updated your outline was before writing the Introduction and the Discussion. Now that you have the beginning and the conclusion, you can take a bird’s-eye view of the whole paper. The outline will allow you to see if the ideas of your paper are coherently structured, if your results are logically built, and if the discussion is linked to the research question in the Introduction. You will be able to see if something is missing in any of the sections or if you need to rearrange your information to make your point.
The next step is to revise each of the sections starting from the beginning. Ideally, you should limit yourself to working on small sections of about five pages at a time . After these short sections, your eyes get used to your writing and your efficiency in spotting problems decreases. When reading for content and organization, you should control your urge to edit your paper for sentence structure and grammar and focus only on the flow of your ideas and logic of your presentation. Experienced researchers tend to make almost three times the number of changes to meaning than novice writers. Revising is a difficult but useful skill, which academic writers obtain with years of practice.
In contrast to the macrostructure revision, which is a linear process and is done usually through a detailed outline and by sections, microstructure revision is a non-linear process. While the goal of the macrostructure revision is to analyze your ideas and their logic, the goal of the microstructure editing is to scrutinize the form of your ideas: your paragraphs, sentences, and words. You do not need and are not recommended to follow the order of the paper to perform this type of revision. You can start from the end or from different sections. You can even revise by reading sentences backward, sentence by sentence and word by word.