Should I publish a peer-reviewed journal article?

grad school journal articles peer-review Mar 31, 2022
Should I publishd a peer-reviewed journal article?


Publishing peer-reviewed journal articles is such an important part of an academic journey. While they are certainly not the only measure of success, almost all universities, research institutions, and funding agencies rely on journal articles as measurable output and evidence of research impact.

Plus, publishing is how you share all the hard work you did with the world!

Your research is valuable, and people want to know about it. In the academic world, you want your research published in a peer-reviewed context because it means others agree that you followed sound methods and that your results support your conclusions.

What is a peer-reviewed journal article?

A peer-reviewed journal article is one that has been vetted by experts in the field before it is published. This process ensures that the article meets certain standards of quality and relevance.

The peer-review process can be summarized as follows:

  • An author, or group of authors, submit(s) their manuscript to a journal.
  • The editor of the journal decides whether they will consider the manuscript for publication and send it for review. This decision is mostly based on whether they believe the article is a good fit for the scope of the journal, or not.
  • If yes, the editor sends the article to usually 2-5 peer reviewers. Peer reviewers are experts in their field who critically assess a manuscript for its novelty, scientific rigor, and clarity.
  • The reviewers assess the manuscript and indicate whether they recommend accepting the article or not. They usually provide detailed comments and suggestions for improvement that are then shared with the author.
  • Based on these reviews, the editor makes a decision about whether to reject the manuscript, accept it, or reconsider it pending revision.

The peer-review process is designed to ensure that only high quality research is published in journals. It can be an arduous process that takes a long time. Different journals have different timelines, but most often the process takes at least several months.

When should I publish a peer-reviewed journal article?

The expectations for publishing on academics keep getting higher. Gone are the days where you finish your PhD dissertation and then get a tenure-track job based on your amazing dissertation and then spend the next few years publishing the results of your dissertation.

Publishing starts EARLY. Many postgraduate programs now have publishing requirements for graduation. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s usually an expectation. In many disciplines advanced undergraduates are publishing peer-reviewed journal articles.

So, in the competitive academic job market, the sooner you start and the more articles you have, the better.

Why should you publish a peer-reviewed journal article?

Publishing journal articles opens doors to postgraduate programs, scholarships, degrees, grants, jobs, awards, and promotions.

Even if you don't pursue an academic career, publishing shows employers that you have grit and can get things done.

In short, you should publish a peer-reviewed journal article. In fact, if you're a PhD student, it's probably expected of you. Your peers are the ones who will be reading your work and critiquing it, so it's important to get their feedback early on in your academic career.

If you're not sure how to start, ask for guidance. Your supervisors and peers can help you choose an appropriate journal. Online communities, courses, and coaches can also be a great resource. 

Happy writing!

Hi! I'm Dr Jayne Wilkins.

I'm a research scientist and academic publishing coach. I've been writing, reviewing, and editing academic publications for 12+ years.

In 2021, I achieved my long-time ambition to publish in Nature (woot woot 🎉).

Want to publish your research?

I can help you finish and submit that manuscript.

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You can get published and it doesn't have to be as hard as you think.

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