There are ever-increasing demands on authors/researchers from both local and national authorities not only to publish widely but to do so in “reputable” journals. Indeed, in many countries this is even a requirement before a PhD is awarded. This obligation is often glossed by the need for journals to be indexed in such internationally recognized lists as the ISI.
Editors of journals are only too aware of this “pressure to publish” and it is for this scenario that I offer some personal advice based on my experience of dealing with submissions. Today I want to concentrate on adequate targeting of your work for publication. Specifically, I focus on two aspects which increase your chances of getting published: selecting your topic and target journal, and writing your paper in line with that journal’s needs.
Do your journal research as assiduously as your academic research. It is not good practice to blanket submit your carefully prepared, executed, and written-up study to all the applied linguistics (AL)/second language acquisition (SLA) journals out there. Firstly, set aside some time to think about where your paper might achieve the greatest impact as regards readers, both academically (in terms of the typical reader profile of that journal) and geographically (the countries and academic institutions where the journal has subscriptions). If this information is not readily available on the web site, contact the Editor and ask. Secondly, a journal usually expects you to be submitting the work to them alone and will assume they have the first option for rejection or acceptance. AL/SLA journal editors have a community forum where they regularly interact and are able to check on possible multiple submissions. Editors expect you to have targeted their journal for a reason. Therefore….
Do read typical content in that journal as well as the section in the submission guidelines indicating the kind of paper they are looking for. Failure to direct your research to a journal which might reasonably be interested in it will usually mean a rejection as a result. It will also involve you in needless delay during which time you could have found better outlets for your work.
Do learn about which topics are of interest to the readership. Reading a number of recent issues of the journal will soon reveal the hot topics as well as the questions being asked in the field. Ask yourself if your proposed research or completed study is likely to fit in with that agenda. Unlike many years ago, there are more and more “niche” or special interest journals in our field and if your interest or research corresponds to one of these, you would be better advised to submit to these first, rather than to those with a more general purview.
Finally, don’t expect to receive instant recognition and acceptance of your work in terms of an offer to publish. Unconditional acceptance of a paper is statistically rare, and most journals will require your paper to go through an arduous refereeing process of several months and revisions in which a number of experts will feed back a number of times on your work. Most referees do this in their own time and voluntarily. As a consequence, the process of submission through to revision and on to final acceptance of a paper can take many months, with a resultant accumulation of papers to be reviewed and published. Most journals in our field would then also need to assume a period of around a year to a year and a half from the date of submission to publication in print. If you are interested in getting your paper out there as fast as possible, you might want to consider whether the target journal provides an advanced publication online before the printed copy comes out.
Written by Dr Graeme Porte, Editor of Cambridge Journal Language Teaching and Cambridge book Replication Research in Applied Linguistics
Cambridge Journals Online launched in 1997, and one and a half decades later continues to evolve. At Cambridge Journals, we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past fifteen years. CJO is arguably as close to a tailor-made resource as you’ll find in academic publishing. Developed, built and maintained by a crack team of software developers based in Manila. Nurtured and specified by in-house editors, marketers and production staff. Informed by consultation with journal editors, societies, academics and librarians. CJO is loaded with fresh new features three times a year, available on all platforms (including mobile), twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
For the next fifteen days (until the 3rd October) we’ve decided to make a birthday gift. Go to any journal homepage, and you’ll find a new, golden tab. There, the fifteen most-downloaded papers from that journal are available to read for free. We’ve done this for every single journal we publish. Make your way there by browsing our full list of Language and Linguistics journals. As well as being able to download papers to your desktop, or read them on your phone or tablet, you’ll be able to send papers to your Kindle to read at your leisure. Just look for the Send to Kindle links in the left hand article menu and in the headers.
We’re sure you’ll find something amongst all that free content to illuminate and inspire. By all means, spread the word. We’ve introduced some handy links on most pages to tweet, like, +1 or otherwise share articles or this post.
So feel free to explore CJO and let us know what you think. We’re extremely keen to make CJO the best resource that we can, and your input is absolutely invaluable. Post a comment below, tweet us at @CambridgeJnls or drop by our Facebook page.
Here’s to the next fifteen years!
2011 Brumfit Award prize runner up Rebecca Sachs provides an overview of her thesis, which was praised for the high quality of its content and presentation
Individual differences and the effectiveness of visual feedback on reflexive binding in L2 Japanese
In the field of second language acquisition, one of the ultimate goals of research into aptitude-treatment interactions is for language educators (and software developers) to be better able to tailor instruction to the needs and abilities of language learners. This thesis attempted to take a step in that direction.
In a computer-mediated experiment, 80 English-speaking university students learning Japanese were randomly assigned into three conditions which provided different types of information about a complicated area of grammar: the interpretation of reflexive pronouns. At least three facts make Japanese reflexives a difficult learning target for native speakers of English: (1) Reflexives can be ambiguous in both languages; (2) certain interpretations which are available in English are not possible in Japanese, and vice versa; and (3) the rules underlying their use are abstract and are not taught explicitly in language classes.
Fortunately, linguists have developed tools for representing abstract linguistic phenomena via visual diagrams; however, not everyone finds such analyses intuitive. Thus, in this experiment, a variety of individual characteristics were measured in order to explore which abilities might be relevant to learning from metalinguistic visual diagrams versus from more meaning-oriented approaches.
In the end, the group of learners who were shown grammatical diagrams demonstrated more reliable learning than the others overall, but there were patterns of individual ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ in each group which appeared to reflect the affordances of each condition. For instance, grammatical sensitivity and visual short-term memory were positively related to performance among learners in the diagrams group, whereas rote memory for language and years of Japanese study predicted performance among learners who were simply told whether their interpretations were right or wrong.
Clearly, ‘aptitudes’ are aptitudes for something, and they can be found in the interactions between learner profiles and instructional conditions. The more we learn about how individual differences shape performance under different circumstances, the more successfully we will be able to harness the potentials of various techniques for more efficient language learning.
It is difficult to find fault with this exceptional thesis, which clearly involved an immense amount of work in its conceptualization, implementation and analysis. The literature review is comprehensive and used expertly to craft the research questions and methodology. The research design ambitiously attempted to investigate the effects of different feedback conditions as well as aptitude-treatment interactions, and to begin to tease apart the complex interplay between individual differences and language learning.
View related posts on the prize winning work of Dr Catherine van Beuningen and Dr Guanfang Zhao
The effectiveness of comprehensive corrective feedback in second language writing
Dr Catherine van Beuningen.
Corrective feedback (CF) or error correction is a widely used method of targeting linguistic problems in L2 learners’ writing. The role of CF in the process of acquiring an L2, however, is an issue of considerable controversy in the SLA field. Questions such as if, how, and when CF works, what type of CF is most effective, and which errors are (most) correctable, are still to be answered by empirical research. With her thesis, Catherine van Beuningen intended to contribute to the settlement of these issues.
In two quantitative quasi-experiments and one qualitative study, she investigated the effects of direct and indirect comprehensive CF on L2 learners’ writing. The studies set out to explore both the value of CF as an editing tool, as well as its ability to constitute long-term accuracy improvement. In addition, they tested if CF comes with any negative side-effects that harm accuracy development, and looked into the influence of factors that potentially mediate CF efficacy, such as the nature of the targeted error and learners’ educational level.
In providing robust evidence on the effectiveness of comprehensive written error correction, the results presented in Catherine van Beuningen’s thesis suggest that comprehensive CF is a valuable pedagogical tool. The findings also advance the theoretical understanding of the language learning potential of written CF.
This is an excellent thesis and it represents an original, important and substantive contribution to research on the effects of comprehensive corrective feedback in L2 writing. What makes this thesis particularly impressive is that it consists of a series of separate studies, each one building on the other empirically and theoretically in a logical systematic manner. The first is a small-scale study to investigate the effects of direct and indirect comprehensive CF on revision and L2 accuracy development. This serves as a useful pilot study for the instructional treatments and task development. This is followed by the main study, a large-scale empirical investigation of the same central question as well as other related and relevant questions that emerge from the initial study and the existing research literature on CF in L2 writing.
Friday 10th August – 2011 Runner up Dr Rebecca Sachs discusses her thesis ‘Individual differences and the effectiveness of visual feedback on reflexive binding in L2 Japanese’
The Editor and Board of Language Teaching are pleased to announce that there were two tied winners of the 2011 Christopher Brumfit thesis award: Dr. Cecilia Guanfang Zhao and Dr Catherine van Beuningen. Both theses were selected by an external panel of judges based on their significance to the field of second language acquisition, second or foreign language learning and teaching, originality and creativity and quality of presentation. This year’s runner-up was Dr Rebecca Sachs, whose work was singled out for praise as ‘an exceptional thesis, which clearly involved an immense amount of work in its conceptualization, implementation and analysis.’
The annual Christopher Brumfit Thesis Award commemorates the work of one of the world’s most renowned applied linguists and one of Language Teaching’s most active contributors. Since 2008, the award has recognized doctoral thesis research that makes a significant and original contribution to the field of Second Language Acquisition and/or foreign/second language teaching and learning. Previous winners of the prize include Irina Elgort, Andrea Borbély Hellman, Okim Kang and Susan Mary Macqueen.
Applications for the award are open from November each year, and examiners pay particular attention in any submission to a number of categories including significance to the field, originality and creativity, presentation, use of the background literature, methods of enquiry, analysis of data and the discussion of the outcomes.
Click here to read further information about the 2012 Christopher Brumfit thesis award
In subsequent posts we will be profiling the work of all three prize winners and providing an insight into what made them prize-winning pieces of work.
Friday 27th July - Dr Cecilia Guanfang Zhao ‘The Role of Voice in High-Stakes Second Language Writing Assessment’
Friday 3rd August - Dr Catherine van Beuningen ‘The effectiveness of comprehensive corrective feedback in second language writing’
Friday 10th August - Dr Rebecca Sachs ‘Individual differences and the effectiveness of visual feedback on reflexive binding in L2 Japanese’