Publishing in Library Science: ULA/MPLA 2008

Peter KrausPeter Kraus, from the University of Utah Library, presented a fascinating discussion on how to start publishing in library science.

Favorite tips:

Start with reviewing articles and grants; you can see over time what makes a good article/grant proposal to help you in your own future compositions.

Look at the Journal of Library Philosophy and Practice–particularly welcoming to first-time writers.

Here are my notes:

What do you mean I have to write?

Do I even have something to say?

Publishing within librarianship or any field in academia should be a supportive venture

You do have something to say—we all have a voice.

Ave academic librarian publishes two articles in a career—this makes it so there is not a really strong understanding of why we are faculty

Publication is a yardstick to measure productivity

Helps with external funding (more research, more likely to receive research grant)

Rachel Singer: Librarian’s guide to writing for publication (2004)

New ideas

New projects; case studies

New programs (even ones that were not successful)

New collaborations

Trends affecting your library (internal and external)

Rule of three—if you have an idea this is a progression:




Writing happens on our own time

8am: 1 hour a day to write/research/edit (nothing happens in the morning)

Or, professional leave (every other Friday; spring break, etc)

Getting Started

Read what others have written: good, bad and ugly

Be objective

With the Idea

Start writing asap—just jot down your ideas immediately

Get your source lined up early

If you are dealing with a publishing deadline make sure ILL is done early for you

Keep a list—what’s current, what can wait

Some publication projects are more urgent than others; can your topic wait a year while you work on another publication that is more current and necessary today? (good example: historical information—this does not change)

Writing style: Concise Clear and Complete

Remember the reader

Begin with main point

Be concise

Be unemotional

Use clear, specific language

Write in a friendly professional style (not so cold)

User active voice whenever possible

Move from known information to new information as quickly as possible – don’t bore the reader

Avoid complicated sentences

Use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation

How to begin publishing

Book reviews (journals are always looking for book reviewers)—some libraries do not see this as a valid publication outlet

Journals that mentor new writers

Journal clubs/faculty writing groups/Grand Rounds

Start a writing group where you get your peers opinion before you submit it to a journal

Grand Rounds: formal presentations to your colleagues in the library

Grant reviewers (federal, state, non-profit)—National Endowment for Humanities, NEA, other state institutions

Review grant proposals will help you see good and bad grants

Writing for publication course for graduate students in a university

Many universities have this type of course

Writing Scientific Writing course

H-net: CFP (call for paper/presentation)

Various list-servs by disciplines

Calls for papers and book reviews

Age-old questions

Do you focus on one key journal

Do you focus on many journals

Publishing in LIS journals

Publishing outside the field

Two most important points

Quality is everything—journal article is you

Do something you are interested in or passionate about


University writing labs

Often ignored by faculty

Not for content but for organization and structure issues

What can happen if you get published?

Invitations to write

Invitations to present at conferences

Where to start looking to publish

Journal of Library and Philosophy of Practice—this is my favorite articles

4-6 weeks from time of submission to response; 3-6 month for publications

For your first or your 50th article this is a wonderful journal

Articles from all over the world

Portal: Libraries and the Academy

Very supportive mentoring program

Stand by your values

Elsevier = good to writers; bad to librarians—are you looking at this as a librarian or a writer?

Open access = good

Institutional repositories


If a journal does not allow you to keep copyright, move on and find another or negotiate (even hard-core contracts are negotiable)

If your dean is advocating for SPARC – open access follow the example


15% acceptance rate so this is a big deal but there are different avenues

College and research libraries news

Look at what they are looking for—look at their call for papers

College and research libraries

Journal of academic librarianship

Some like it others don’t (Elsevier bought this journal)

Look at their website

Always looking for book reviewers

Utah Academy of sciences, arts and letters

great for discipline research, hard sciences, history, British Literature

practically guaranteed a presentation if you are accepted

published abstract even if the article is not published (nine different indexes in different fields)


Q: reviews: do they provide a text they would like a review for? Or do you read something, compose and submit before you know if they want it?

They will send you a list and you select a book you would like to review

How likely is it to get published without a PhD in a discipline journal

Partner with professors but make sure the work is equally distributed

Journal of library philosophy and practice

Even though it is online it is peer-reviewed, index in 6 different journals,

Q: it is not outside faculty it is library faculty who are not letting us publish in online journals

Just tell your provost: you are asking for peer-reviewed journals and that is where I am at” show them the acceptance rates and show comparable numbers with other academic journals

Get a letter from the publisher: your article is getting published and it is a peer-reviewed journal (if your publication will not come out till next year)

Q: when you are thinking about something to write about or on and trying to decide on qualitative or quantitative studies;

Your decision; check for what has been done; if it is a NEW idea, do it


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