Tips, Timeline & Content

general advice and tips

    Before you Submit:
  • Follow the formatting and submission guidelines meticulously.
  • Make your point crystal clear and maintain focus throughout.
  • Write with an authoritative voice.
  • Submit your work to a journal that is relevant.
  • Be choosy and don't sell yourself short. Make sure that the journal is established and respected.
  • Use your resources: seek guidance and assistance from colleagues and mentors. You can never have too many readers!
    While you're waiting for an answer:
  • Be patient. Remember that the publishing process can be sloth-like.
  • Do not submit your work to more than one publisher at a time.
    If rejected:
  • Move on! It happens to the best of us!
  • If you have been given reasons why, consider taking the editor's suggestions into account as you revise for submission.
  • Make sure that the next journal you try out is well-suited to your topic.
    If accepted:
  • Be proud!
  • If you're asked to revise and resubmit, follow the editor's suggestions.
  • When you sign that contract, go ahead and add it to your vitae as a "forthcoming" publication.

general timeline

Peer reviewed journals generally move at a snail's pace. Some are faster than others, but you can definitely expect this process to take months. Each journal is different and it is fair to ask your editor about their specific timeline. However, there is a pattern that is fairly common to most journals.

  • Stage 1: Within a few weeks of sending in your article, you will (in most cases) receive a letter stating that your piece is under review.
  • Stage 2: The review process can take a very long time, but in most cases you'll hear back from the journal within 2 to 3 months.
  • Stage 3: If your work is accepted with revisions, most journals will give you roughly 1 month to make the necessary changes.
  • Stage 4: Once the editor has confirmed that the piece is officially accepted and ready for publication, a number of things can happen. It might be sent out to the publisher to be incorporated in an upcoming issue right away, or it may be held in a backlog for a later issue. The time between official acceptance (contract signing) and receiving your hard copy of the journal in hand can take a minimum of 6 months.

The Bottom Line
The average timetable from submission to acceptance (and revision) to publication is usually a year and a half.

Note: Book reviews tend to have a much faster turnaround than academic articles, as they rarely go through peer review and are instead vetted by a dedicated book review editor.

Advice: When you've signed that contract, go ahead and add this publication to your curriculum vitae. It is common and expected for scholars to include forthcoming publications in their CVs.


You, your writing, and the publisher

Your intellectual property:
You are the sole owner of your article until you sign a contract for publication.

The publisher's intellectual property:
Once your article has been accepted, you'll receive a contract in the mail that hands over the intellectual property of that piece to the publisher. The publisher will provide detailed information about how this works. You can reprint the entire article and republish parts of it, but permission must be obtained from the original publisher.

An unstated but generally agreed upon practice:
This is not a copyright issue, but when you submit an article to a publisher, it is very customary to send your work to only one journal at a time. If your work gets rejected, it is then routine to send it to another journal. It isn't illegal to send your work to more than one periodical at a time, but with academic articles it is inappropriate and bad form to do so. (This is not the case with books, however, which publishers expect you to "shop around.")

You, your writing, and Capella

The following document explains Capella University's limited rights to royalty-free publication of your thesis and/or dissertation:
Please read the statement on the Use of Confidential Information. (iGuide login required)

The following document explains Capella University's policies in regards to your ownership of your writing:
Please read the statement on Publishing Dissertations and Theses. (iGuide login required)

External Resources:
Cornell Law School's US Code Collection
University of Texas' Crash Course in Copyright