Journal paper, conference paper, book chapter
April 16, 2014 5:26 AM   Subscribe

[academic-filter] Let's say I've done some snazzy research from which I want to produce two journal papers, a conference paper and a book chapter. How different should the conference paper and book chapter be from the journal papers? Is there an order in which I should publish them?

I'm in the UK, publishing internationally, in an interdisciplinary field.
posted by hannahlambda to Education (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What field? The answer will depend entirely on that.
posted by grouse at 5:38 AM on April 16, 2014

OK I feared that would be the answer. It's a small policy focussed field. I guess you could call it energy modelling, having elements of economics, techno-economics and sociology. I guess that's unhelpful.
posted by hannahlambda at 5:42 AM on April 16, 2014

The best thing to do is to check the policy of the journals you would submit to. For example, one in my field clearly states "full papers present original high quality primary research that has not been previously published". However, whether conference abstracts/proceedings count towards this can be a grey area. Journal editors can advise on this - just drop them an email.

In my scientific field, a conference abstract (< 1 page) probably would not count as prior publication, but a longer published conference paper/proceedings probably would, precluding a full article.

Ultimately for journal articles, you're convincing the 'sceptical referee' that the paper represents a significant new contribution to the field. If they google your name and find something very similar that you haven't cited, they'll likely reject it.

Depending on your field, the journals might have the highest 'novelty bar', so I'd do them first.
posted by firesine at 5:50 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

(although my field tends to have conferences that do not produce papers/proceedings, only abstracts, so YMMV)
posted by firesine at 5:55 AM on April 16, 2014

I think it should be journal article 1 followed by journal article 2 and either in the middle or slightly after do the conference paper. The book chapter can happen whenever as long as it is after the journal articles. I think that the book chapter is best if it comes last as well as then the research that goes into the chapter has been peer reviewed and you could cite the papers in your book chapter.

Note the above is for Chemistry, which I guess you could call energy manipulation since all matter is energy and all energy is matter if that is not too unhelpful. :P
posted by koolkat at 6:19 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your field sounds pretty close to mine - close enough I wonder if I might know your work. I would generally see conference papers as something to publish as a precursor or prep for a fuller journal article, probably submitted in a thinner form than a journal version (typically conference papers have a page limit which is less than the typical length of a journal article so there is not that much choice over this.) However I would not rule out knocking out a short form version after the journal version is submitted if I wanted to be able to attend a conference. This is not really a problem, it helps to disseminate your research outputs to do both journals and conferences, which the funding bodies like. It is worth bearing in mind that in academic terms the value of a conference paper is negligible while the value of a journal paper is above all else - conferences are there for you to network and try and get a few people to read your proper work.

I would be pretty upfront about any journal article being a more in depth development of a conference paper in your acknowledgements. Don't make a big thing of it beyond that. I review for a few journals in what sounds like a similar field and I don't think this would be a problem.

A book chapter is more complicated. I would definitely leave it until after the journal articles if that is under your control. Copyright becomes more of a problem at that stage.
Are you planning the chapter to cover material from both the preceding journal papers? That will give more opportunity to change the text. I would be looking at a lot of paraphrasing if I was doing this, and introducing some more discussion at the beginning and end of the chapter to bring it into the context of the book and maybe develop the discussion to cover both elements jointly. I would really avoid cut and paste stuff at all costs but its always possible to find different words to say the same thing.
posted by biffa at 6:38 AM on April 16, 2014

In a broadly social science setting, the conference paper will not be very different from one of the articles, because it will be the early form of one of the articles.

The book chapter will be as different from the articles as is required by the nature of the project the editors are working on. Note that usually you don't get to submit for book chapters so much as the editors invite people that they know (or have heard of) to participate. And, because book chapters end up receiving less peer review as a result, book chapters are almost always counted as less than an article.

The only right answer to what order you should publish them in is the order you can get them accepted in.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:42 AM on April 16, 2014

The variety of answers reflects my thoughts, as in there is no clear answer. I will submit a short version of journal paper 1 to a conference and write the book chapter as a paraphrased combination of both. Thanks all.
posted by hannahlambda at 6:54 AM on April 16, 2014

We don't know this as well as your colleagues do. Ask your master's or doctoral advisor, or your mentor if you're faculty. We call this slicing the baloney too thin but it is very field specific.
posted by sockermom at 7:42 AM on April 16, 2014

My approach, in my field, would be like koolkat's. Increasingly, conference presentations, even posters, are being used as ads for journal papers, rather than previews of works because of novelty restrictions. We've made conferences less useful in my view, to serve the benefit of the academic publishers..
posted by bonehead at 7:51 AM on April 16, 2014

From a social science perspective, prioritize the journal and maintain precendence and first rights for that, it'll stand you in better stead in both short and long run (assuming it is a decent journal). More people will see the journal article, they will be able to find it easier, and they will assign more weight to it, almost certainly.

Book chapters can also often be written as a more reflective or speculative assessment of your work, unless it's a book intended as a "state of knowledge" review, in which case it will also differ from the journal article.

In any case, it may all be moot, since in my experience book chapters often take at least two years to appear in print and you should probably not submit to a journal which takes that long.
posted by Rumple at 9:39 AM on April 16, 2014

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