Getting Started in Research & Publishing

On April 27, 2023 the ACRL Arts Section Publications & Research Committee hosted a webinar, Getting Started in Research & Publishing. A panel of journal editors shared their expertise:

The session was not recorded, but here are a few takeaways based on the panelists’ discussion:

  • How did you go about publishing your first scholarly work?
    • Responding to calls for papers (CFP), something that fits with their research interests. Good to have built-in deadlines rather than just writing on the fly
    • Book chapter – Helped them understand how easy it is to lose control of your work. The publisher would not give a free official copy of the completed work, requiring authors to purchase one.
    • Co-edited a book with a colleague, and wrote a chapter within it. 
    • First peer-reviewed article: a collaboration with a professor. Writing usually about something they’ve been working on.
    • Invited by Art Documentation to turn a survey result into an article. Later asked to edit a monograph.
    • Turned a seminar paper from an MLIS course into an article. Helps to be around other colleagues who are publishing and work collaboratively. Helps to have support from your home institution.
  • Where is the best place to look for opportunities and where do you post your calls for content?
    • Discussion lists/list-servs. Look at websites of journals for your speciality area. Look for opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, make sure they know your interests to connect you with relevant opportunities.
    • Library writing blog: Invites people to submit articles after seeing conference presentations. 
    • Calls for reviews via ARLIS-L, often forwarded to others – networking is important. 
    • Talking to people at conferences/at the regional chapter level.
    • If you’re not sure if a topic is a good fit for the scope of a journal, write to the editor for feedback. Being a reviewer is also a good thing to do – helps someone else with their writing, helps you be a better writer.
    • Favorite place to find CFPs is
  • What are some options for writing opportunities beyond the traditional scholarly route–Do you have any advice on getting started?
    • Editorials (opinion pieces) for journals. CNRL News. 
    • Book reviews – look at other people’s reviews for structure, format. Note: when you write a book review you get a free copy to keep.
    • Some journals have a section for feature articles that aren’t scholarly.
    • Annotated bibliographies on a topic, less structured than a literature review.
    • Good reference tool for book reviews:
    • Exhibition reviews/notable graphic novel reviews for ARLIS.
    • Open Educational Resources (OER) – low barrier to entry. Creating one or modifying an existing resource. Good opportunity for collaboration, may lead to grants or other opportunities. There is a big need for OER in art. 
    • C&RL March issue’s Editorial is a video panel of book reviewers and they talk about their experiences:
  • What are some emerging topics of research that you’ve noticed? 
    • AI e.g. ChatGBT. AI as a tool and a source. Worth having conversations around bias in content, info-literacy, critical thinking. Communicating about it without alarmism. Also the issue of digital inclusion, basic intro to technology – digital native does not necessarily mean digitally literate, especially with adult learners, helping users have the confidence and skill to navigate resources.
    • Research is more data-driven than it has been in the past. Intellectual freedom and censorship.
    • Accessibility (e.g. on libguides/websites), DEI, Open Access, OER
    • Labor and work/life balance, compensation.
    • Being a reviewer is a good way to learn about current topics of discussions.
  • As an editor, what are your biggest pet peeves or things that you think potential contributors should avoid? 
    • Don’t ghost an editor by starting a discussion about a potential publication and then ceasing to respond. Also peer reviewers starting and not completing projects. If you can’t complete a project, communicate that. 
    • Please read the instructions for submissions carefully (e.g. if you need to anonymize your paper). That will expedite the process, demonstrate your professionalism, and save you time.
    • Don’t assume a topic has been done to death. You never know what others are interested in + you can discuss options with your editor.
    • Use the required citation style (e.g. APA 7th edition MEANS APA 7th edition)
    • Reminder nudges/questions to your editor are welcome during the publication process.
    • Can’t make a deadline? You may be able to delay until a later publication. 
    • If you’re reviewing a publication you don’t like, you could potentially do a negative review – work with your editor.
    • Don’t forget the point of why you’re writing, e.g. a book review is to help others decide if they should read/purchase the book, not rehash the content.
  • Is there a good way to approach someone outside your institution for collaboration?
    • Send a well-written, polite email that is clear about what you’re looking for and see what happens. Talking with people after their conference presentations is another good opportunity
  • What resources would you suggest for learning to plan out research? Making timelines, etc?
    •  I find it tempting to get caught up in resources, so I like to keep it simple with Zotero

ArtsGuide Denver for ALA Midwinter 2018

ArtsGuide: 2018 ALA Midwinter –Denver Google Map 

Going to ALA? Check out our Denver ArtsGuide!

Accessible via mobile devices and desktops this Google Map is a selective guide to cultural attractions and events in/near Denver. Each genre of art has its own layer/color, so you can easily identify whichever landmark you’re most interested in seeing. The conference center is also included on the map for convenient navigation.

Plan to take pictures of the arts/performances you attend during the conference? Share your photos via our Facebook page or tweet about it using the #ArtsSection hashtag.

Special thanks to all of our contributors and the ACRL Arts Publications and Research Committee!