Publishing SoTL Research

Publishing SoTL Research

The following module provides an overview of the publication process for sharing SoTL results.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe options for publication opportunities and factors to consider when choosing a journal
  • Describe the steps to preparing a manuscript for submission
  • Explain the submission process

There is tremendous pressure in the academic community to present and publish your research in order to contribute to your discipline and advance your career. As previously mentioned, in order for SoTL, or any type of research, to be considered scholarship, the results must be shared publicly. On a practical level, SoTL results need to be shared in the academic community in order for the results to be meaningful and have an impact on teaching and learning. Therefore, it is critical for researchers to engage themselves in the publication process. If you are new to the processes of publishing your research, the following guidelines and the resources on this page will help you get started.

Where to Publish

  • Do your homework. Examine your literature search, the library and other databases to find out which journals have published your specific topic in the past. SoTL research may be appropriate in many discipline-specific journals, as well as journals focused on teaching and learning.
  • Make a list of the journals in your field that may potentially publish your research. Decide if your research fits the aim and scope of each journal listed.
  • Are the journals you have listed high in quality and do they have good reputations?
  • What is the acceptance/rejection rates for the journals?
  • Rank the potential journals in order of priority and approach them one at a time. You cannot submit the article to more than one journal at a time.It
  • It is often advisable to research and consider possible journals before writing the article. Journals have different guideline and formatting requirements and it may save time to write the article according to those guidelines from the beginning.
  • This link provides a list of links to online directories and resources that are useful in selecting the appropriate journal – Selecting a Journal to Publish In.

Preparing the Manuscript

  • Use the resources in the GCU module “Writing a Research Paper” to assist you in writing the article.
  • Be sure to follow all the guidelines of the journal to which you are submitting including the style preference for references, formatting, word limits, and so forth.
  • Be sure to have obtained permission for use of any copyrighted material.
  • Proofread carefully and submit a high quality first draft.

Submitting to the Publishers

  • Use the journal’s website to find the information regarding their submission process and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Include a cover letter. The cover letter will help the editors understand the significance of your work and should include a statement as to why you have chosen to submit your article to that particular journal. The cover letter is really matter of making a good first impression and therefore, time should be taken to draft a quality letter.
  • The article will undergo a peer review process which can be time-consuming so be patient. Some journals even have a two-stage process where an editor reviews the manuscript first to decide whether or not is worth of peer review. During the peer review, the manuscript will be thoroughly evaluated by typically 2-6 reviewers. The peer reviewers are experts in the field that will be able to evaluate and provide feedback on the research, the presentation of the findings in the manuscript, the quality of the writing, and many other aspects. Each reviewer will submit their comments to the editor. Depending on the journal and the discipline, the process may take 30-90 days.
  • Following the review, you will receive a letter or email from the journal with their decision. The editor will arrive at a final decision after carefully considering the feedback from the reviewers. Responses may vary a bit from journal to journal, however, following is a list of common responses you may receive from the editor:
  • Accept without changes – The journal will accept the manuscript as submitted. This is very rare.
  • Accept with minor revisions – The journal has accepted the manuscript but is asking the author to make minor corrections.
  • Accept after major revisions – This is conditional acceptance where the journal agrees to publish the paper if the author makes larger changes requested by the reviewers.
  • Revise and Re-submit (R & R) – This is a conditional rejection. The journal is essentially stating that with the major revisions they are suggesting, they would consider the paper at a later time in a new round of submissions. This is not a guarantee of publication at a later date, but leaves the door open for the author to make revisions and submit again.
  • Rejection – Also called an outright rejection, the journal will not publish the paper and will not reconsider it even with major changes.
  • If it is rejected, you should request the reviewer’s reports or comments because they will provide valuable feedback that will allow you to improve the article before submitting it elsewhere.
  • Rejection is very common, especially for those new to the process. Use the feedback to revise the article and submit it to the next journal on your list.
  • For more information and guidelines on the submission and revision processes, refer to the GCU module, “After Submission”.

The following videos will shed additional light on the publication process and may be especially helpful if you are new to the process. The first video provides perspective regarding the role of publishers and insight into the process. The second video details the steps involved in the publishing process and the cycles that journals go through for each publication.

Introduction to Scholarly Publishing #01 – Publishers

Introduction to Scholarly Publishing #02 – The Journal Publishing Cycle


Suggested Readings

Belcher, W. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
Brookfield, S. D. (2011). Addressing feedback from reviewers and editors. In Rocco, T.S. and Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Calfee, R.C., & Valencia, R.R. (2001). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: APA
Day, R. A. (1998). How to write and publish scientific papers.
Day, R. A. (1998). How to write and publish scientific papers.
Devlin A. (2006)Research Methods.Thompson Wadsworth.
Miracle, V. A., & King, K. C. (1994). Presenting research: Effective paper presentations and impressive poster presentations. Applied Nursing Research, 7(3), 147-151.
Rocco, T.S. and Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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