gnovis Event: Why We Publish, and Why You Should Too!

Today, gnovis hosted a session entitled “Why We Publish, and Why You Should Too!” from 3-4pm in Car Barn 311. Joining us was a well-published panel of professors from CCT: Professors Jeanine Turner, Michael Coventry, Matthew Tinkcom, and David Ribes. The faculty joined the gnovis staff and 30 students to discuss why they publish (and why we should, too!). Below are some highlights of the evening’s panel.

The process of publication is both daunting and a world of possibility, according to Prof. Matthew Tinkcom. He reccomended that when thinking about submitting a project, students should identify specific journals they might be interested in. You can research many journals online, or speak with your professors for recommendations. Pay attention to the journal’s self description and language, and see if you can contribute to the conversation that seems to be happening in the journal. Don’t spend pages trying to demonstrate that you know a discipline’s theoretical framework. If you’re submitting a paper for publishing, this is assumed. Instead, identify what unique thing you have to offer to the conversation that hasn’t been done before.

Prof. David Ribes encouraged us to consider the plethora of places we can publish. For some disciplines, there are clearly identified journals with strong reputations and a high level of impact in terms of readership. It is important to know what is expected from your particular target area. In addition to these more formal places, graduate students can also consider submitting a paper to a conference, writing a chapter in an edited book, or writing for journals and publications that are more practice based (such as those in the tech field). Most importantly, frame the language of your project to your target audience. Don’t know what your target audience wants? Read journals in that area and talk to an insider for the best information.

Prof. Michael Coventry reminded us that everything which is available publicly is a “final” version of a paper. Revisions are part of publication, sometimes amassing 8+ revisions over time. Instead of being nervous about the editing and review process, students should take the opportunities to do “early” types of publishing (like submitting a paper to gnovis!). Taking advantage of these early opportunities can help prepare you to go through the publishing process in the future. By keeping your audience in mind, you can repurpose a paper for publication in places that might surprise you!

Prof. Jeanine Turner cautioned us against making the choice not to publish by doing nothing at all. She reminded us that we are here to engage interesting ideas, which we should not just limit to our heads, or to our professors. Becoming part of the conversational community around the issues that interest you is part of learning as a student. Students can engage the conversational community through methods like student papers and student panels at conferences. Find a conference you like, in a city you want to visit, invite some friends that you have compelling academic conversations with, and submit your ideas for a student panel!

Patricia Fancher and Jeff Borenstein also shared (along with the faculty) about the importance of peer review in publishing their papers with gnovis. They encouraged us to engage the process and use it as a way to learn how to receive and consider feedback on projects. Jeff called the peer review process both the hardest and most interesting part of his publishing experience. Trish noted that the cross-disciplinary questions from peer reviewers helped her to see new angles on her project.

Thank you to the faculty panelists and student publishers that participated in the event! If you would like to see the event on video, please contact us here at gnovis.

Lydia served as managing editor of gnovis in 2010 and earned an MA in Communication, Culture and Technology program at Georgetown University in 2011. Lydia came to gnovis and CCT after 7 years of work in the fields of secondary and post-secondary education. Prior to that, she graduated cum laude from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, with a major in Communication and minor in Psychology. Lydia’s research interests include representations of race in television and film, media effects on culture, knowledge production, cultural studies, and womanist/feminist theory. She is particularly interested in the way that mediated representations of race create conditions for racial inequality in society. In her free time she writes poetry, plays with kids, and eats chocolate.