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Preparing To Publish: Pre-Pre-Publishing


Before you begin the publishing process, here are some questions that can help develop an important foundation for the work to come.

  • What do I have to say?

Developing a well-defined and well-thought out topic is essential before beginning any steps in the writing or publishing process. Starting with a well-articulated idea will help dictate the direction you will take in all the steps that follow.

  • Is the paper worth writing?

It’s important to find out if there is already similar information available on your topic before you begin. Having a unique point of view is necessary for your work to be accepted to a scholarly journal. Will this article be redundant in regards to the available scholarly literature?  All submitted work must be original, and if the same conclusions (while not technically plagiarism) are found elsewhere, the article will not be accepted.

  • Have I already published this content?

This includes poster sessions, meeting abstracts, guidelines, reports, etc.

  • What format is appropriate?

There are many different formats that your published work can take. Some examples include: reports, journal articles, proposals, theses, abstracts, speeches or slide presentations, poster presentations, books, chapters, and review papers.

  • Who is my audience?

Determining who will be reading your article can help decide where you should publish, as different journals will have different reach and readership.

  • Who will be credited as an author?

Defining who will be credited as an author and in what capacity (corresponding author?) is important to tackle at the beginning of the process. Also, all authors involved in a manuscript must provide full disclosure. This includes conflicts of interest (are any of the authors employed by a company that might benefit from the article’s publication?) or any sources that provided funding for the work, including grants.

  • Do I plan on filing for a patent using this work?

Under US patent law, "a person is entitled to a patent unless, among other things, the invention has already been patented or described in a printed publicationor is otherwise available to the public before the filing date of the patent application that claims the invention" (Title 35 U.S. Code sec. 102(a)(1)). This means that if the patent was previously publically disclosed, the researcher's application will be rejected. Disclosure can include written and oral disclosure, including (but not limited to): journal articles, theses, or public seminars.