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					Writing and
publishing
For most people, writing is
very hard work
Many people find publishing to be
the most intimidating part of
academic work.
    Argyris – 500 words a day
    Starbuck – staying at home

          Before word processors, rewriting the same
          first sentence
       Many people procrastinate
Why is writing so hard?
   Writers have to convert complex
    ideas into simple, linear text.
   Writers and readers see text quite
    differently.
   Success depends on being able to
    deal with editors and reviewers.
       You must satisfy reviewers who do
        not know more than you do but who
        seem to act as if they do know more.
Subtopics
   Research on reviewers
   Some trends in journal
    publishing
   How authors see it
   How authors should deal with
    editors and reviewers
   Writing introductions and
    conclusions
"Louis Pasteur's theory of
germs is ridiculous
fiction".

  Pierre Pachet, Professor of
 Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
Research about reviewers1
   Reviewers tend to agree about the
    criteria for judging manuscripts.
    (Gottfredson, 1978)
   But they agree much more weakly about
    the qualities of specific manuscripts.
   Evaluators’ judgments of manuscripts’
    quality correlate only 0.24 with citations
    to the published papers.
   Reviewers’ judgments of papers’ quality
    correlate only around 0.25 to 0.3 with
    manuscripts’ true value. (Starbuck, 2005)
Research about reviewers2
   Reviewers give positive ratings to
    papers that support their beliefs
    and vice versa (Mahoney, 1977).
   When they reject papers that do
    not support their beliefs, reviewers
    attribute the discrepant findings to
    poor methodology.
   Journals are very likely to reject
    papers they have already
    published. (Peters & Ceci, 1982)
Research about reviewers3
   Because each reviewer makes unreliable
    judgments, pairs of reviewers disagree
    with each other.
       Reviewers’ judgments correlate between
        0.1 and 0.4.
   Because reviewers say “Reject” over half of
    the time, they are much more likely to
    agree to reject than to agree to accept.
   Although some journals publish more top-
    quality articles, the differences between
    journals are unclear and gradual.
A correlation of 0.25
                                     Manuscripts Accepted after Reviews by Journals in Different Strata When Rho = 0.30


                         1.2%




                         1.0%



                                                                                                           Population
                         0.8%
Percent of Manuscripts




                                                                                                           First quintile, 43% in highest-value
                                                                                                           20% of manuscripts
                         0.6%
                                                                                                           Second-third quintiles, 29% in highest-
                                                                                                           value 20% of manuscripts

                                                                                                           Fourth-fifth quintiles, 13% in highest-
                         0.4%                                                                              value 20% of manuscripts



                         0.2%




                         0.0%
                                -4    -3       -2         -1       0       1          2   3       4
                                                    Log of True Value of Manuscript
Changes in academic
publishing from 1980 to 2006
   1980
       900 libraries would buy any book.
       Sale of 1200 copies could be
        breakeven.
   Between 1980 and 2006
       Many new journals appeared.
       Libraries reduced their purchases of
        books to buy journals.
Changes in academic
publishing from 1980 to 2006
   2006
       600 libraries buy any book.
       Breakeven sales volume can be
        around 600, depending on typesetting
        methods.
       Additional copies can be printed in
        lots of 20.
                                       Figure 2 Ratios of Impact Factors: Ratio of Top Quintile to Fourth-Fifth Quintiles and
                                                     Ratio of Second-Third Quintiles to Fourth-Fifth Quintiles

                                  14



                                  12

                                                                                                                         Top management, Mean = 6.2
Ratio of Average Impact Factors




                                  10
                                                                                                                         Top economics, Mean = 5.6
                                                                                                                         Top psychology, Mean = 8.6
                                   8                                                                                     Top sociology, Mean = 4.2
                                                                                                                         Second-third management, Mean = 2.7
                                   6                                                                                     Second-third economics, Mean = 2.1
                                                                                                                         Second-third psychology, Mean = 3.0
                                   4                                                                                     Second-third sociology, Mean = 2.1


                                   2



                                   0
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                                                                            Year
“It is commonly known and a constant
course of frustration that even well-
known refereed journals contain a large
fraction of bad articles which are boring,
repetitive, incorrect, redundant, and
harmful to science in general. What is
perhaps even worse, the same journals
also stubbornly reject some brilliant and
insightful articles (i. e., your own) for no
good reason. . . . bad papers are
submitted in such vast quantities . . . the
small fraction of them that gets accepted
may outnumber the good ones.”
                      Rousseeuw (1991)
How authors see it1
   Some reviewers are insulting.
   Some are ignorant.
   Reviewers make inconsistent
    demands.
   Reviewers are biased.
How authors see it2
   BUT authors must communicate
    with and satisfy these rude,
    biased, ignorant clods who
    disagree with each other.
   To gain discretion, authors can
    seek loopholes in reviewers’
    comments and juxtapose their
    conflicting demands.
How authors see it3
   To “submit” a manuscript has a
    double meaning.
   Authors must thank even the
    reviewers they despise. Since
    thanks is mandated by asymmetric
    power, it is probably false.
   Repeated revision can create
    contracts.
Choosing a journal1
   Proceedings give little visibility.
   Articles are more useful than books
    for younger researchers because of
    speed and circulation.
   Pick a journal before you start to
    write, then match its style:
       Tables? Statistical tests?
       Quantitative versus qualitative?
       Propositions? Flow diagrams?
       Density of references?
Choosing a journal2
   Does your paper cite several
    articles that were published in the
    journal?
   Citation frequencies indicate
    visibility.
   Citation frequencies are on my web
    site:
    pages.stern.nyu.edu/~wstarbuc
Choosing a journal3
   Are multiple submissions OK?
     More than one manuscript - yes.

     The same manuscript - never.

   As with any investment situation, a
    diversified portfolio reduces risk.
     The tradeoff is weak between

      high prestige and probability of
      rejection.
Choosing a journal4
   Should you send a manuscript to a
    newly launched journal?
       Yes if you are old and famous and you
        want to help the journal
       Yes if you have written many papers
       Yes if you are feeling insecure
       No if you are young and unknown
       No if you have written only a few papers
       No if you are confident
Submitting initially1
   Address your letter to the correct
    person and use the correct name of
    the journal.
   Your manuscript should be tidy,
    with no typographic errors and no
    spelling errors. Check the
    references.
       Do not signal carelessness.
       Perhaps, hire an editor. (Ming Jer)
Submitting initially2
   Wait three months, then if you
    have heard nothing, make an
    inquiry.
       Telephone may be better than a
        letter.
       Journals often have poorly organized
        offices.
           Electronic services are changing this.
Getting a response1
   “No reviewer is ever wrong.”
   React as coolly as you can.
       Wait at least two weeks before you
        do anything . . . better six weeks.
Getting a response2
   Regard reviewers’ comments as
    data about (a) your writing and (b)
    how readers are likely to react to
    your writing.
       Reviewers’ comments are NOT
        judgments about the quality of your
        research.
Getting a response3
   If the reviewers misunderstand
    you, write it more clearly.
   If they suggest you are ignorant,
    show your knowledge.
       But you might really be ignorant!
   If they say you used the wrong
    methods, explain why you used the
    methods you did.
       But the reviewers might know better
        methods!
ALWAYS revise1
   Good data about readers are hard
    to get. Colleagues are too
    supportive, too tactful.
   Reviewers think they are saying
    something intelligent.
       If they appear to be stupid, they may
        have stated their concerns poorly, or
        you may not be interpreting their
        remarks correctly.
ALWAYS revise2
   Make SOME change(s) in response
    to every comment of every
    reviewer.
   But, do not do everything they ask.
         Eric’s three revisions, twice
Usually, send it back to the
same journal1

   Repeated revision can create a
    contract.
   With your revision, send an
    elaborate point-by-point
    explanation of how you dealt with
    each comment by each reviewer.
      The editor will send this
       explanation to the reviewers
       themselves.
Usually, send it back to the
same journal2
   You can argue with the reviewers
    but do so tactfully.
   Look for loopholes in their
    comments. Juxtapose their
    inconsistent demands.
  Writing

 Everything I could say is on-line:

http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~wstarbuc/
          Writing/Fussy.htm
The most important parts of
an article are the introduction
and conclusion
These should --
 entice readers to read the article,

 convince readers that the author

  is credible,
 summarize the main conclusions

  of the article, and
 persuade readers that they are

  happy to have read the article.
    Why introductions and
    conclusions are important
   People are most likely to
    remember what they learned last.
   They are next most likely to
    remember what they learned first.
   They are least likely to remember
    what they learned in the middle of
    the sequence.
Start seductively
   Tell a story.
   Defend an implausible statement.
   Contradict an authority.
   Contradict common sense.
   For example, Daft and Weick began
    "Organizations as interpretation
    systems" (AMR, 1984) by saying
    "Consider the game of 20 questions.
    Normally in this game one person. . . .
    Organizations play 20 questions."
Also start by showing
credibility
   Why should readers read what YOU
    have to say?
       You cannot report your qualifications,
        of course.
       You can exhibit command of the
        relevant literature.
       You may be able to reframe the
        literature to show a novel and
        insightful perspective.
Give a brief road map of
the paper
   Readers do not know the paper’s
    structure. They may find themselves
    wondering why they are reading what
    they are reading.
   State the main thrust of your argument.
       First tell them what you are going to say
       Then say it
       Then tell them what you said
   Explain the outline of the paper.
       Although this seems mechanical to you, it
        can be brief and it seems less mechanical to
        readers.
Just before you end
   Summarize the main arguments
    and main conclusions
       One to two pages
       Essentially, a long abstract
   Assume that readers have not read
    any of the preceding parts of the
    paper.
Do not end depressingly
   Do not point out that this paper does not
    answer all questions or that more research
    is needed. These are clichés.
   Do not end by emphasizing the deficiencies
    of your paper, thus making readers regret
    having read it.
End memorably
   Point out a few practical implications.
   Tell a story.
   Spring a surprise.
   Give your findings an ironic twist. (Univ of
    Paris)
   Synthesize conflicting positions.
Introduction + Conclusion
= All
   Together, the introduction and
    conclusion should tell readers
    everything they need to take away from
    the paper.
   Someone who reads ONLY the
    introduction and conclusion should be
    able to state what the paper
    contributes.
   Exercise: Give someone only the
    introduction and the conclusion.

				
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posted:10/26/2011
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