Well, this morning I want to talk to you about two things. First of all is publication in journals, and secondly, a matter concerning academic ethics. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Carson Lewis Jenkins. I’m a visiting professor at the College of Tourism and Service Management in Nankai University.
Now the two things I want to talk to you about are very much linked, but they’re also essential for anyone undertaking a career as an academic.
And the title of my presentation, of course, is aiming for the top. So why we said aiming for the top? And the answer is in evidence provided by professor Bob McKercher of Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China. Over the last few years, Professor McKercher has examined the development of tourism and hospitality as publication sectors. And he now tells me that there are over three hundred and more like three hundred and fifty journals with the title tourism on its cover. So this means there is enormous opportunity of publishing in various journals.
But as a student contemplating a career as an academic, your reputation will depend very much not only on what you publish, but where you publish and therefore aiming for the top journals. What I’m suggesting to you is that whatever you’re researching in your particular field, there are recognized journals, perhaps ranked one, two, or three. You should always attempt to get your work at a standard, which will allow you to submit a research article to those journals.
Now, if I say there are three hundred and fifty journals you could possibly publish in, then you say, wait a moment, I’m starting my academic career. Which journals should I aim for? This becomes a matter of experience. You do not have this experience. So where will you get advice? And I would say your starting point is with your supervisor.
You say to your supervisor: I have been working or we have been working on this particular topic, and it’s almost at the stage where we think it might be sent to a journal, which journal do we submit to? To a very large extent, that decision will depend on two things. One, it will depend on your supervisor’s judgment on the quality of your work. That’s the first thing. Is it ready to submit to any journal? Secondly, which journal best suits what you want to publish. And this can be a very debatable subject, because, as I say, there are now probably three hundred fifty journals you could target.
But essentially and eventually, when you’re being evaluated as an academic, then one of the questions would be not only how much have you published, but where have you published? Have you managed to publish in the top journals? If you have, this will look very good indeed on your CV.
Now then, how do we publish? First of all, on any piece of research, there has to be a title. And you say, this is easy. I know what I’m writing about. But it’s not easy. Because remember, you know what you’re writing about, but people who are going to review this publication for a journal want to be sure that what you write reflects your title. So the choice of title becomes very interesting indeed. Let me take you to an example. Let’s assume you’re writing some research on island tourism. So the title is “Tourism in Islands”. You think that’s an accurate title? In one way it is, in another is not.
Because if you look at the tourism literature, we subdivide the word islands (into different categories). There are small islands, such as in the Caribbean and the Pacific and there are very large islands like Madagascar. And if you want to extend the term to its full capacity, then Australia is an island. So, one of the things you might have to do is to say, this article is about tourism in small islands. It might be in small Caribbean islands. It might be in Pacific islands. And now there’s another sub-category, which is islands we call cold water islands. So these are islands then which are not normally on the tourist horizon. So that question of the title becomes very important.
It should reflect what the content of your article is going to say and aim at a title which captures readers attention. The title must be accurate. If it’s not accurate, then people say I read this article but it’s misleading. Because the more I read the article, the less relevant it is to the title. So the title has to be accurate. If you can get a title which is captivating by the use of words, then very often you find that this becomes important. For example, someone might say a holiday destination which is world class or a holiday destination which is best suited for elderly people. So that adds a bit more power to your title.
In a sense, the choice of journal becomes very important, because sometimes you might publish something to do with tourism or services management or hospitality, but not in a main line tourism journal. For example, my own area, which is basically in political economy and tourism development, then very often I would choose one of the development journals for that publication rather than Tourism Management or Annals of Tourism Research. And I would never publish in the Journal of Tourism Research, because that’s a highly quantitative journal. And it’s not something which I published in. Again, the choice of journal is important.
Again, the article’s reflection must be in the title, because the first thing the editor would look at when you submit your paper, is this relevant for our journal?
Then what every journal will ask you to do is to write an abstract which could be a hundred words, could be two hundred words. Now what is an abstract? It is the summary of your paper. It’s a condensed version of your paper. And in it, you’re trying to pass on certain information. What you need to do is to present the scope of the paper. What is this paper about? Secondly, I think you have to say very briefly how you’ve done it. So you said this is based on a quantitative analysis or qualitative analysis, or a joint analysis. It involved field work, including things, like surveys.
So very briefly tell people not only what you’ve done, but to a little extent how you’ve done it. And then the most important thing in that summary is to say to the reader what you found out as a result of this research. Is there anything new you found out or have you confirmed existing research? How relevant is it to the existing literature? And the most important thing is to conform to the word length. If it says five hundred words, if it says a hundred words, do not exceed that. Because if you do, you’ll antagonize the editor Because sometimes we don’t recognize or realize when we publish papers or submit papers, publishing is a very expensive activity.
And therefore, if we exceed word length, editors are not going to be happy, and they may send it back to you and say, please do this again. The abstract is the summary of your paper. So if you go online, find a title which interest you, you read the abstract and you say, well, this is something I’m interested in, I will read. Or you may say, no, this is not what I want to look at. So these I think are the very important steps. The first step then is to find yourself a title. Secondly, is to ask your colleagues, ask your experienced publishers, where do they think this paper should be published.
And then thirdly, make sure that your title reflects what you’ve done. At that stage, what you should do, of course, is to go to the online journal or to the published journal, and read very carefully what it says its interests are and also things like style. Because if you don’t get that right at the beginning, then revision is going to be very tedious.