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International publications in Sociology: what can we do (better)? Jaak Billiet

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International publications in Sociology: what can we do (better)? Jaak Billiet CeSO & Central Coordination of ESS PhD seminar Dec. 1 - 2008. outline. Introduction: the background Why are international publications important? Different perspectives + criteria for assessment

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International publications in Sociology: what can we do (better)?

Jaak Billiet

CeSO& Central Coordination of ESS

PhD seminar Dec. 1 - 2008

  • Introduction: the background
  • Why are international publications important?Different perspectives + criteria for assessment
  • How can you do it? = some ideas on- advantage of co-publications (but…)- choice of a journal- learning from rejection by (high rated) journals- elapsed time between finishing and accepted/published paper - evolution during PhD ‘career’- follow training ‘academic publishing’
1 introduction
1. introduction
  • Experience from many research assessments (FWO, research Netherlands, research schools, BOF KULeuven, ESF…) and selection committees for academic positions from 1990 until now… last years many reviews for number of journals
  • International publications are always a crucial factor in the assessments
  • the criteria are different according to assessment and selection committees… this has implications for decisions by PhD student (how do we know specific criteria?)

For some general principles see: Billiet et al…(2005). Bibliometrie in de humane wetenschappen, Vlaamse Koninklijke Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, Brussel, 38 pp.

2 why i p important
2. Why I.P. important?
  • we can imagine many reasons, but most simple = your work is mainly judged by your publicationsand these are nowadays most of the timein English, external peer reviewed, in (real) international academic journals (ISI?) or in book volumes of prominent (what is this) scientific publishers or books (condition)
  • Never counted: conference proceedings that are not published (without editor, no pages), books printed by yourself, internal & external reports, publications of own group (unless very prominent institute…) = in sum “all what is published without external academic peer review”.
several perspectives
Several perspectives
  • Count publications in own language? Depends (external peer reviewed, academic, etc…) but this seminar is on ‘international’
  • How important for YOU, yourself?It dependscriteria have different weights depending whether you plan a BOF post-doc, FWO post-doc, other universitiesor

continued research position inside or outside university

Minimal: at least one proof of peer reviewed international publication as a first author (often much stricter criteria because of concurrence)

several perspectives1
Several perspectives
  • How important for the research teampublications of research team in view of continued research fundingyou contribute to the reputation of the research team
  • How they do it in the best sociology teams in the Netherlands?About 4 published or accepted international pubs in high rated jnrls at moment of PhD defense (eg. ASR, AmJS, ESR…), first author… but rule = PhD thesis is collection of articles in UU, UG, UvT, VU, Radboud… Different norms in qualitative sociology (UvA) = still monographs Supervisors lead students through first publications from second year on, in later years still co-author but students are then first authors and take initiative
3 how can you do it
3. How can you do it?
  • Cooperation: work together, impossible alone, but with fair division of orther of author assumes that you plan with supervisor and team members (or others) several publications at a time (7 intern. journal articles published in 2007/2008 are written with 9 different co-authors, first author: 2 x PhD stud, 2 x other)
how can you do it
How can you do it?

2. Choice of a journal: each time before writing final text a discussion about the journal, more alternatives + choose highest rated journal but be realistic why? You learn most from the reviewers reports in view of resubmission or even rejection

how can you do it1
How can you do it?

3. At long term: choice for a high rated journal with risk of “serious corrections and new submission” is (mostly) preferable over easy publishing in low rated journal. Why? You can learn a lot from the comments of experts in the field who reviewed your paper,go down later to lower rated journal… rated? At base of impact factors

how can you do it2
How can you do it?
  • Elapsed time between sending a paper and final decision/publication can be very long.(e.g. paper in Journal of Social Issues in 2008 was sent in 2005 = 36 months; paper in ESR in 2008 was more than 24 months, paper in Sociological Methods & Research in 2008 was in less than 5 months however, was first sent in 2006 but was lost)

Lesson learned: check always whether editor has received the copy!!!

Situation is improved because of internet advanced access

how can you do it3
How can you do it?

5. Evolution during PhD careerpublishing in international peer reviewed journalsstart as co-author of journal articles or book chapters with supervisor in 3th-4th year and learn from experience, in 4th-5th take initiative but still in cooperation

Transform conference papers into pubs in journals or books

problem = at same time finishing PhD thesis


depending of plans and sub-discipline do not forget to publish for own society in Dutch

how can you do it4
How can you do it?

6. Follow training in academic publishingsome papers that I receive for publication are ofter very badly written, not very well structured, too many issuesalways (in empirical papers):

- 1 or at least couple of questions you will solve in the paper

- short state of the art = theoretical part

- session about the data and measurements

- results session

- conclusion and discussion