Writing for Publication

This subsection addresses a number of aspects having to do with the particular situation of writing for publication. In a way, it is a very central aspect to academic writing, since it is the ultimate aim for researchers, coupled with the fact that senior students at the higher levels of study are encouraged to undertake studies that could be turned into publications.

Publication practices differ between disciplines, with regard to when, where, and what to publish. In some fields, co-authored articles are the most common form of publication, whereas single-authored articles and monographs are more common in other disciplines.

Producing compilation theses is the norm in some fields within science and engineering. Doctoral students in such fields of research have to get a certain number of articles accepted for publication, and these are included in the thesis, together with a summarising chapter. In other disciplines, monographs are more common and doctoral students may have no publications prior to their thesis (which may or may not be published). For more information about PhD thesis writing, see:

Publishing at LU

Scholars at Lund University are required to register their publications in the LU research information system. In 2016,  LUP (Lund University Publications) is being replaced by LUCRIS:

Because of research evaluations and the competitive nature of the academic world, it is important to publish in peer-reviewed, well-reputed journals. Learning which journals are relevant and how to write for them is part of many PhD students' training. Cargill & O'Connor (2009) suggest that scholars "develop a publishing strategy" (p. 72) by studying a selected number of journals in their field and analysing which journal may be most appropriate to aim for.

Open access

'Open access' is a term used for publication which is accessible for everyone. Open access has become increasingly common and the Lund University publishing policy recommends that researchers give free access to their research publications, if possible.

Read more about open access in the Lund University Libraries website:

For further reading: Recommendations from editors (click to expand/contract)

The following text on scholarly publishing by Michael Schoenhals (2009), Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, outlines some central aspects that writers need to take into consideration before submitting their manuscripts to a journal: whether to submit or not; how to choose a journal; the editorial process and the criteria by which manuscripts are judged.

  • Schoenhals, M. (2009). Publishing in Peer-Reviewed Journals. Report. Lund University, Centre for Languages and Literature. [access via LUP]

Most journals publish guidelines on their websites, and some offer extensive online advice for writers.

Submitting the text

Practices may differ between journals, and many journals today employ an online submission site, where articles can be uploaded electronically. In some cases, the writer should submit his or her article together with a cover letter containing a statement of the contents of the article. The cover letter should be kept short and to the point. For advice on formal letter writing, see

When a text is submitted to a publisher, it must fulfil all the criteria stated in the publisher's guidelines for authors. Apart from general requirements regarding language proficiency, the following aspects related to writing are often found in such guidelines:

  • format
  • word count
  • article structure
  • reference style
  • issues regarding ethics
  • copyright

Note that a manuscript may never be submitted to more than one publisher simultaneously.

What does 'copyright' mean? (click to expand/contract)


'Copyright' is a legal term, meaning the right to copy, sell, etc. a text or other medium. When a scholarly article has been accepted for publication, the publisher will send a copyright agreement document to the author(s) of the article that has to be signed before the text can be published.

Read more about copyright in connection with publishing your research on the Lund University Libraries website:

Importance of academic integrity

Texts submitted for publication will be closely examined by reviewers appointed by the editor or publisher. These reviewers are usually anonymous, and the identity of the author of the article is often kept a secret to the reviewer as well.

Most publishers will only consider original pieces of research for publication. Publishing companies and journals have guidelines for their editors on how to deal with suspected redundant publication. Such guidelines are useful for writers as well. Find examples here:

Review process

When an author has submitted a text to a journal, it will be reviewed by other scholars within the field. The number of reviewers used varies across journals, but having 2-4 reviewers is common. Depending on their comments, the manuscript will then be accepted or rejected. Sometimes, an article will be sent back by the editor to the author, with a request for major revisions. Articles that are accepted often have to go through minor revisions before being published.

For further reading: The peer reviewing process (click to expand/contract)

Weller (2001) discusses the scholarly peer reviewing process:

  • Weller, A.C. (2001). Editorial peer review: Its strengths and weaknesses. Medford, N.J.: Information Today. [Google Books]