ITS 2014: How to get published?

On the 23th and 25th June 2014, I attended the 25th European Regional Conference of the International Telecommunication Society (ITS2014), Brussels, Belgium ( The event was hosted by iMinds (Vrije University of Brussels) and SMIT (Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication).

This time the overall theme of the conference was disruptive innovation in the ICT industries with focus on challenges for European business and policy.  Consequently, the presented papers covered such topics as the future of the European ICT policy, next generation networks, mobile services and digital media, business aspects of ICT. During the event I have presented a paper: “Mobile payments: Main trends in the retail industry”. 

There were a number of interesting papers presented during the event and a number of discussion panels. However, I would like to focus in more details on some thoughts and recommendations expressed during a meeting with journal editors. The main discussed topic was how to publish a paper.

Editors’ expectations of a typical article:

  • It should be withing the editorial scope of the journal topics.
  • The article can address future issues.
  • It is important if articles to contribute to theory of practical side of research topic.
  • The article should be well structured and well written.
  • It should also be interesting for broad audience.
  • It is good to keep the article short (the best size 5000-7000 words).
  • No jargon.
  • And it is important to read Guidence for Authors.

Issues important to reviewers:

  • Originality (is there something new?). Creation of a new knowledge is a key factor. If the theory is not new it is not interesting, meaning no chance to publish. Hence, the contribution to theory should be clearly stated.
  • Relational to literature.
  • Appropriate methodology.
  • Results should be clearly explained and the research questions answered.
  • Implications for research, practice and/or society.
  • Quality of communication (good English, clearly written).

Common mistakes:

  • Out of editorial scope of the journal / Not paying attention to guidelanes / Length (too long).
  • Not cited relevant literature (published in the target journal).
  • Submitting a paper to several journals simultaneously.
  • Permission for copyrighted material (photo, graphics – to demostrate a right to use it or to get a pemission to use it).
  • Plagiarism – inadvartent and deliberate.

Mistakes on content side:

  • Poor articulation of a research question.
  • Poor English.
  • Not thinking about the implications of the research.
  • Not asking the ‘So what?” question.
  • To think about the paper from a demand rather than supply perspective: will the article be interesting to the journal audience?

It is important to keep in minds these ecommendations, because journal receive many papers (for example, Telecommunication Policy has received 300 papers, and the number of published papers per year: 160-170. So, about 50% of papers are rejected even before being sent to reviewers.

Some recomentadions from editors:

  • Before publishing it is a good idea to familiarize yourself (as an author) with the common publications of the journal and to see if your paper fits the journal.
  • To find out if the journal is more focused on publications based upon empirical research, or on academic and theoretical researches.
  • To be a reviewer. This is an opportunity to understand what is the journal about. It is also an opportunity to get known. In addition, if your review is of a good quality, then editors might be more willing to acept your paper.
  • To develop a good structure and storytaling flow of the article. It is important to present essential ideas of debates in literature.
  • To be brief, presise, and to the point.
  • When editing a paper is important not forgeting to mention what are figures about, to label curves and axes, what are used the figures or percentages about and what they mean, and so on.
  • To use proper citation of sources.
  • To ask someone (preferably native Eanglish speakers) to read your publication before submission.

The editors also reminded that the main role of reviewers is to help to improve the paper. It is also good to respond to reviewers’ comments not to being angry with them. May be then they will change their opinion.

Good luck with the future publications!

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