Monday 4 June 2018

Using a PhD thesis bibliography for shortlisting journals to submit 'chapters-as-articles'.

Written for inter-disciplinary Post Doc researchers interested in identifying target journals for their theses.

In writing my interdisciplinary thesis on 'Inequality in Digital Personas', I cited many experts from different fields. Consequently, my bibliography featured a wide range of journals. A disadvantage of such breadth lay in it being hard to narrow-down those journals most likely to be interested in publishing articles adapted from my thesis' chapters.

To gain a clearer view on the available opportunities, I analysed my bibliography’s citation frequency after making a shortlist of journals: quantifying the number of papers cited from a particular journal seemed helpful, since high scores were likely to suggest a track record of publishing research that overlapped with my thesis’ focus, while low scores would seem to suggest limited engagement with a journal's foci.  

For the shortlist, I printed out a hardcopy of the bibliography and highlighted the journals that were listed more than once. I then filtered journal titles that cropped up repeatedly by excluding those unlikely to be interested in my thesis’ contributions to cultural sociology, social semiotics and/or social interactionism. The find function in Microsoft Word proved useful for searching the remaining journal titles in the bibliography. Totalling numbers for the shortlisted publications provided surprising results. There was a wide difference between the top, and the rest...

Table 1. Most quoted journals.
4 or more
Poetics 16
Information, Communication & Society 10
Studies in Art Education 5
Learning, Media and Technology 4
Art Education 3
Convergence 3
Cultural Sociology 3
South African Journal of Education 3
Visual Arts Research 3
British Journal of Educational Technology 2
The International Journal of Arts Education 2
Image & Text 2
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 2
Journal of Youth Studies 2
Media, Culture & Society 2

With 16 articles, Poetics proved to be my thesis' most cited journal, but only three other journals were referenced more than three times (see Table 1). Understanding which these are should prove useful in supporting an efficient selection process. Plus, it helps with preparation and submission too- it should be much less time-consuming preparing an article that's already in dialogue with authors in one's chosen journal.

Three important tips- Word!
1. In following this process, just be aware that Microsoft Word's search will not spot (journal) names that are listed on separate lines in one's biography, so searching for part of a journal's name can be a good idea.
2. It's best to search using 'exact case' and to double-check one's tallies when doing (1) {'Art Education' is easily logged as 'Studies of Art Education', but they are separate journals}.
3. Also, journal names do change {for example, Learning, Media and Technology was formerly known as the Journal of Educational Media (1996 - 2004) and Journal of Educational Television (1975 - 1995)}, so be sure to tally old one's up under the current title.

Fellow researchers, please let my readers know if you have any other tips for this process in the comments box below? Ta.

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