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Writing Your First Journal Article

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This chapter deals with writing your first journal article. First, we discuss how to select the right journal for the publication. The audience, the impact factor and journal rankings are discussed, as well as the current possibilities and pitfalls with open access publishing. Then, we look at planning the writing of a journal paper, and finding time for writing. The elements of writing a good abstract are discussed, and the popular method from PhD Talk on “Writing an abstract in 30 minutes” is explained. Then, we discuss the review process, including the timeline of reviews, and how to deal with reviewers’ comments. You learn how to write a comprehensive reply to the comments of the reviewers to increase your chances for publication. Then, we look into dealing with rejection. Most journals only accept about a third of all submitted manuscripts. Therefore, rejection is quite normal. We discuss how to rework a rejected paper for submission to another journal. Finally, we look to the future, and how to juggle a number of papers in different stages of the writing and publication process.


  • Journal article
  • Journal publication
  • Academic writing
  • Publishing
  • Planning
  • Rejection

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  1. 1.

    Unless your institution or supervisor explicitly asks you to do so.

  2. 2.

    Some institutions or countries have agreements with publishers so that these fees for the authors are waived. Do look into what is available at your institution and country. Ask your library for the institutional policies and targets for open access publishing.

  3. 3.

    Or at least, that’s what I did pre-baby. Now I write from my campus office because I can’t concentrate at home with the baby and I can’t pump in the company office.

  4. 4.

    If outlining works for you.

  5. 5.

    Or use a digital equivalent.

  6. 6.

    Not the newly added parts, obviously.

  7. 7.

    If you use outlines to structure your writing.

Further Reading and References

  1. SJR. (2017). Scimago Journal & Coun try Rank.

  2. Lantsoght, E. (2013). Writers’ lab: Overview of journals on structural concrete and bridge engineering. PhD Talk.

  3. Lantsoght, E. (2014). Writers’ lab: On where PhD research gets published. PhD Talk.

  4. Lantsoght, E. (2016). From PhD thesis to journal papers. PhD Talk.

  5. Belcher, W. L. (2009). Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousands Oaks: SAGE.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Lantsoght, E. (2012). How to write a paper in two days. PhD Talk.

  7. Lantsoght, E. (2011). How to write an abstract in 30 minutes. PhD Talk.

  8. Koopman, P. (1997). How to write an abstract.

  9. Rosenstein, L. (2009). Engineering communications – Course notes.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Lantsoght, E. (2013). Writers’ lab: Turning your dissertation into journal papers. PhD Talk.

  11. Lantsoght, E. (2014). Writer’s lab: How I wrote a draft paper in 8 hours. PhD Talk.

  12. Lantsoght, E. (2014). PhD Talk for academictransfer: How I manage my papers in progress. PhD Talk.

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Lantsoght, E.O.L. (2018). Writing Your First Journal Article. In: The A-Z of the PhD Trajectory. Springer Texts in Education. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-77424-4

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