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Top tips for publishing in academic journals

While attending the recent Society for Conservation Biology Oceania conference, I had the pleasure of participating in a workshop entitled “What editors and reviewers are (not) expecting to find in your submission”. Hosted by Green Fire Science lab member Dr Moreno Di Marco, this workshop included a panel discussion staring some of the greats of the conservation publishing world:

Professor Mark Burgman - Editor in Chief of Conservation Biology;

Professor Hugh Possingham - Founding Editor of Conservation Letters and editorial board member of six other journals;

Assoc. Professor Margie Mayfield - Subject Editor of Global Ecology and Biogeography and Proceedings of the Royal Society B; and

Assoc. Professor Kerrie Wilson - Associate Editor of Ecological Applications and Ecography.

Here are their 5 top tips for better journal submissions:

1. Research journals’ aims and scope before preparing and submitting your work. Many submissions to the board's journals are outside the scope and are immediately rejected.

2. If you want to be published in top tier international journals, you must be able to demonstrate novelty in the abstract without references. This must then be supported in the introduction with the support of references.

3. Once you and your co-authors are happy with a manuscript, reduce the word count by 10%. Then come back to it and reduce it by another 10%.

4. If you are offered to resubmit your manuscript, keep your reply positive and polite. No matter how rude you think the reviewer has been, it is never acceptable to be rude in your reply.

5. When resubmitting, paraphrase the major reviewer’s comments in the opening letter. Make it as easy as possible for the editor to be happy that you have addressed the concerns raised.

I hope you find these tips helpful when preparing your next publication.

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