How to Get Published in a Peer Reviewed Journal

I’m attending the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning 2017 in Toronto, Canada and blogging the sessions I’m attending.


  • Diane Conrad, co-editor of IRRODL
  • Lesley Diack,Aberdeen, Scotland, Research in Learning Technology, Journal of the Association of Learning Technologists; she’s one of five editors, it used to be ALT-J
  • Tannis Morgan, Justice Institute of British Columbia, serves on multiple editorial boards
  • Lucy Gray, editor for Open Learning
  • Jill Buban, Online Learning Consortium, Online Learning Journal, formerly Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks

Stories of Rejection

  • The politics of rejections. Knowing the audience.
  • Sometimes seen articles they’ve rejected appear in other journals.
  • What about when there are two good reviews and one bad review. Sometimes the reviewer is wanting a different article – their perspective.
    • Tip: responses from the author regarding the reviewers that are very well thought out – these can make a major difference. There might be something in the reviews that’s out to lunch. As an author you need to respond and give a rationale for why you use this or not.

What prepared you for the role of an editor?

  • The experience of being an author, a student
  • The desire to support authors who are new to writing in the area
  • Part of the role of a reviewer is to give good feedback to help them; same situation as supporting students
  • Working on a new journal with others, shaping a journal
  • Doing a lot of peer reviews
  • Started a class newspaper in grade four
  • I enjoy helping people learn to write; and I enjoy reading what other people have written, reviewing puts you on the front line of the research
  • My supervisor told me to review so that my writing would improve
  • It’s good for me as a professor to be an editor
  • Writing in journalism and news

Is this cheap labor?

Provocative question from the moderator to a panel of women.

  • There isn’t a stipend for editorial work at one journal; at another there is
  • It’s voluntary, time consuming
  • Some element of prestige
  • It’s service
  • It’s relaxing work for me
  • In one situation the assistant editor got a stipend and the editors did not

What’s the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make as an editor

  • When reviewers don’t agree
  • Sometimes the judgment call is suitability to the journal – that’s easy; but then other decisions are more difficult
  • Further discussion of reviewers… IRRDOL rates reviewers on the quality of the review
  • Some of the journals represented are trying hard to publish from countries who have had less of a voice
  • One option is to have three reviewers required for each article
  • Challenges with articles written by non-native speakers, providing editing or recommending the author get additional editing assistance

The process of publishing: How should an author choose a journal?

  • Look at the topics in the journal, seeing how your article fits in the journal
  • Authors do throw articles blindly out; they haven’t researched the journal
  • Journals have information that outlines the scope, interests
  • Look at the masthead and see who is on the editorial board – that shapes the concern of the journal
  • Authors can write a letter to ask whether the article fits in the journal
  • It saves a huge amount of time to ask about the article ahead of time; otherwise you’re wasting time in the review process
  • Review the archives of the journal to get a flavor of the topics
  • Rolling publications means that your journal can get published faster; as they are reviewed they can be posted
  • Open journals are a great way to get your work out there
  • Look at how many issues a year they publish
  • From the audience: Contact North has a searchable directory of journals regarding online learning
  • Don’t submit to more than one journal at a time!!

What are you looking for when you receive an article?

  • First the article goes through a plagiarism service. Shouldn’t be 50-60% or more of a previous article
  • Checking to see if it’s a fit
  • Good methodology / sound research
  • Missing the description of the population
  • There is nothing new
  • Does it matter?
  • Abstracts are often very bad – it should say certain things – the journal websites tell about it
  • Be clear about what you’re writing – what is the article about, what type of article are you writing
  • Follow the journal guidance on the website
  • Different journals care about different things – ignoring the past history of online learning
  • Results and conclusions often don’t match the data

Great advice and discussion on the publication process and issues for online learning.

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