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There are some pitfalls, or potential problems that you should be aware of in seeking to get published.

  • Publishing with others/co-authorship can be a problem if you haven't worked out before-hand who will get credit for the article, and in what way. When an article is written by a group of people, the first person named is considered the 'primary' author. This does not have to be the most senior researcher on the team (though it often is). If you feel you have done most of the work and deserve proper credit for this, then you should make your expectations clear with your co-authors before proceeding.
  • Copyright - payment and royalties are not an issue in academic publishing, certainly not for journal articles. Academic journals do not pay authors for contributions and no royalties will be collected by the journal. The copyright for your article may be required to be transferred to the publisher as a condition of publishing, but you can try to negotiate by giving them a broad licence to publish instead. You still have the right to be named as the author of that material (moral rights). Check your publishing agreement to see what rights you retain - can you adapt and reuse your work without getting permission from the publisher? Can you distribute your work in class? Can you make a version of your work available open access? (The usual rules on citing and referencing apply). See Publishing research and Authorship under Copyright and research students on the Monash University Copyright website.
  • Waiting - it can take a long time to get published in an academic journal (more than a year is not uncommon). Once you have been accepted by a journal, however, you are obliged to leave the article with that journal. You must not publish the same material elsewhere, or try to get it accepted with another journal. You must only submit an article for publication to one journal at a time - only when you have been rejected by one journal should you submit your article to another journal.
  • Plagiarism - there is no uncertainty, or room for discussion of plagiarism with journal articles. If you submit an article to a journal which contains words or phrases, data or evidence from another publication without attribution and acknowledgment you will not be published. If the editors do not spot the plagiarism, and publish your article, when it is found (it will be found eventually) your academic career could be over.

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