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Writing a journal but not affiliated with any organisation or university


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Hi

 

I am interested in writing a journal article, I sort of know in what field that I want to write in, the journal list that I want to submit to. The concern here is that I am not a research student in any university, I am actually a working adult.

 

Journal articles are usually submitted by university student or working adults and the author usually has to submit their details.However, when I publish the journal, I do not want to be affiliated with any organisation( company that I am working with). I have not enrolled for any graduate research course at any university for now. I do have a Msc in computer science hence the idea of writing research.

 

How do I go about it, can I submit my article without giving out my organisation details, how do freelance researcher stand out.

 

 

 

 

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I'm not sure if this means the current system is broken, but there really isn't much opportunities for freelance researchers, especially those without PhDs, in academia. That said, if you have performed research that is suitable for publication, you should contact the journal editor that you want to submit to and ask them how to fill in the affiliation box. The affiliation information is more than just where you currently are -- it is an actual affiliation related to the work (i.e. a company that employs you for R&D, a school that has hired you to work as a researcher, etc.). So, you shouldn't just put your current employer unless they are affiliated with your work. 

 

But the way you phrase your first question is confusing. I'm not sure if this is because you are not sure what you mean, or if you just didn't explain your intention clearly. But, it sounds like you have decided that you want to write an article but have no idea what to write about (except for the field?). Usually, articles are written after some substantial original research is completed. People do research first, decide whether their results merit a publication, and then write it up. The first two parts is tough and it is what a PhD is meant to train you for (that is, doing independent research), which is why I said earlier that it's strange to have "freelance" researchers without a PhD. 

 

Your work might also be treated less seriously if you are not a student, and do not have a PhD, and are not working with any advisors with PhDs. It may be unfair to be biased against this type of work, but I still think that in the exceptional case that legitimate science is performed in this case, it would be recognized by the editors. Maybe I'm just idealistic though.

 

Also, it sounds like your primary concern is what to fill in for the affiliation box. That is not really a concern -- simply asking the editors would solve that problem. In your shoes, I would be more concerned with completing publishable work on my own (if that's not already done), and/or ensuring that I have the right guidance in performing the analysis and writing it up. If you already have a finished work and you think it's a good idea, I would recommend that you contact a professor at a nearby school and "pitch" them your idea, show them what you've done and see what they say. If you've done good work, they might agree to take you on as a research assistant to finish the work, or provide guidance to help you publish the paper. They would probably also appear on the paper and you would probably use their affiliation, since you might be informally/formally (loosely) included in their group at this point. However, this could be quite challenging, since many people might not be willing to listen to a random person's ideas (some profs get a lot of crazy ideas from random people). 

 

Another option would be to register to present your work at a local conference in order for people to find out about your work. Let people know that you are looking for guidance/collaborators to help you polish up the work. Maybe you can get someone to agree to add you to their group as a volunteer or even part time research assistant.

 

However, all this can really only happen if you already have a well-formed idea and work completed. If you are not there yet but want the opportunity to do research, then it would probably be better to try to get hired (or volunteer with) an established research group at a local university instead of trying to do this all by yourself. You have a MSc, so that is pretty decent qualifications -- definitely enough to be hired as a research assistant in a lab in North America. Maybe you can start with a part-time / volunteer position at first and then shift to more full time work.

 

Finally, my last question is why do you want to write research articles? They are only useful to have in the world of academia, so if you are interested in going into / going back to academia, then why not consider PhD programs? If you don't want to do a PhD, then why do you want to write research articles? If you want to get more research experience / articles in order to apply for PhD programs, then trying to get research experience at a school is probably your best bet.

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Hi TakeruK, thanks for the reply. yeah, I am planning to get into a Phd course but not right now, in say maybe a few years time.I am just thinking that the if indeed my articles do get published, that would really help in my CV and get me funding in the university that I would enrol in.

 

Requentin, independent scholar..wow...so that's what it is called. Thanks

 

Research should not be limited to the academia field right, I mean, what about people like me, who have left school and still interested in research but perhaps have many reason not to start in any specific school now. For me, personally, I have not found any research done by local universities at my place interesting enough and to what extent some local supervisors are knowledgeable enough... ..I am not so sure. I want to start on my own...plus when you are a working adult and with some research background ( referring to myself ), there is just much more research fields that we can explore and our viewpoint on certain things are different.

 

Hope this attracts more independent scholars...where do I meet them anyway...here ..?

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I agree that research should not be limited to those in academia only. However, I was mostly pointing out the fact that the editors of journals are those in academia. The referees are those in academia. Basically, academic journals are written mostly by those in academia for others in academia. 

 

So, I was pointing out that you might face some extra challenges. I think that valid research by independent scholars should be welcomed and accepted by the academic community. However, since the intended primary audience of the academic journals is, in my opinion, the world of academia, then the article should be written with the purpose to be useful to those in academia. 

 

I still think that if you do intend to apply to PhD programs in the future, you would improve your chances the best by doing work within the academic world. After all, getting a PhD means you want to work with those in academia (maybe not necessarily afterwords, but definitely while in a PhD program) and it doesn't make sense to be trying to avoid academia at the current time. I am a little confused by the tone of your post, which seems to imply that you might have a bit of disdain for academia, yet you hope to get into a PhD program, and basically (temporarily) join academia.

 

But you are right that academia could be a little closed-minded and that it would be great to have fresh ideas from outside of academia. Unfortunately, from my (admittedly limited) experience, most people outside of academia come up with crazy ideas which makes it even harder for independent scholars to be taken seriously. I hope you will be successful in providing interesting new ideas and insight to your field!

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Hey Tekaruk

 

Thanks for the feedback, do not get confused with my reply. Perhaps, cause I am from the IT field, so its a little different I guess, the research happens in and outside of the academic field. I should have mentioned that earlier to avoid the confusion. Anyhow, thanks again and definitely will update the post once I have published an article.

Edited by kalpana0611
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Your work might also be treated less seriously if you are not a student, and do not have a PhD, and are not working with any advisors with PhDs.

 

Aren't scientific journal articles read/reviewed by the peer reviewers "blind"?  i.e. they don't know who wrote the article when they decide whether to publish it or not?

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Aren't scientific journal articles read/reviewed by the peer reviewers "blind"?  i.e. they don't know who wrote the article when they decide whether to publish it or not?

 

I have not yet reviewed an article so I can't confirm this with my own experience, but from talking to everyone else who has, the peer review process is not a double-blind process. This might be a field-dependent thing.

 

I've talked to people who said, "Oh yeah, I'm currently reviewing an article on that by Prof. So-and-So -- but sorry I can't tell you more at this time." Another person told me once that he was put in an awkward position where he had to review a paper by the competing group that was citing his own paper and saying it was wrong. I asked about it being a conflict of interest and the person said that he did tell the journal editors that but they wanted him to review it anyways, as he was an expert in the pretty small field. I get the sense that this happens a lot in my small field (i.e. the few competing groups are the only ones qualified to peer review one another's work) and people are expected to act professionally and report conflicts of interest so that journal editors can act accordingly.

 

For most journals, it is one-way blind though, so if I submit an article, I don't know who will be reviewing it. However, many times, the referee will reveal themselves, usually by signing the referee report with their real name. I haven't heard of any journals in my field that enforce anonymity. Also, some journals will also ask the submitting authors to name a couple of people that they would like to suggest as referees, or alternatively name some people they don't want to referee the paper. I don't think the journal promise that the choices will be honoured, but it's something the editors will keep in mind when selecting referees.

 

The same process happens for grant review panels too. I've talked to people who have recently served on the panels, and while it's a bit more formal (since the stakes are a bit higher), they are not usually double-blind processes either. The panel is not known to the people proposing for grants, but the panel reviewers usually know the names on the proposals (so that they can excuse themselves if there is a conflict of interest). The added formality is just the definition of "conflict of interest", usually it means if you have worked with them in the last X years or have coauthored a paper in the last Y years etc.

 

Again this might be a field dependent thing. Maybe some fields are just too small that there's no point doing a double blind study since you can usually guess who/where the authors are from the dataset they use, or even just the research problem!

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My field is fairly small and I imagine anyone who gets one of my papers to review can guess who wrote the paper quite easily. There aren't that many researchers working on the problems that I am working on, and even less who have my approach and use the methodologies that I do. Still, papers are always anonymized for journal submission and the review is double-blind. Of course, when I get to review a paper, since the field is small, I also have a good bet as to who wrote it, but the paper is still anonymous and a guess is still a guess. 

 

I think it's quite customary in my field for editors to have a paper reviewed precisely by the person whose theory is being criticized in that paper. It helps the editor get the best reaction they can to the problems the paper raises, and of course they know to take the review with a grain of salt. The author of the work you are criticizing is uniquely in a position to question your criticism and you need to be able to respond, and none of this is a conflict of interest unless the reviewer tries to sabotage the paper by writing a review that is impossible to satisfy (I'm sure this happens sometimes) and then it's up to the editor to know which parts to take and which not to take. Since these days papers also get posted on archives and personal websites and get cited as manuscripts, it's not like being held up by review can really prevent a paper from being influential. It still sucks for tenure reasons and I hope it doesn't happen often, but I also can't think of a case where I've heard that someone was denied tenure because they had multiple papers held up in review for an exceedingly long time, so I hope it's at least not a frequent problem. 

 

As for grant panels, those are treated differently in my field. Grant proposals (for the NSF at least) are not anonymous, though the reviewers are. I got comments, and I've seen comments others got, that directly addressed the authors of the proposal and the reviewer's opinion about the feasibility that the authors can carry out the proposed project. Actually, there it can get quite nasty because the reviewers get to remain anonymous while the authors are not. There's a lot of politics at play where money is concerned. 

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