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Can we talk about publishing as an undergraduate (or MA student)?


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Hi everyone, it looks like things are rather slow around here so I'm not sure if many people will even read this. I've noticed that every year many of the top prospective students already have publications under their belts. Can anyone give me any insight regarding where they're getting published in such a short amount of time? Some of my professors have told me that it can take a year, or two, or more to successfully publish something. Are these students getting published in smaller journals that don't have an intensive review process, or am I missing something entirely? I'd really like to be competitive as possible next year and I feel like this is the only place I'm lacking. 


I would greatly appreciate advice from any of you with experience in publishing, especially if you or someone you know had something published as an undergraduate.  

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I know some students who co-authored an article with their mentor/supervisor/trusted professor who took them under their wing. It's rare but some professors will be willing to do that for particularly keen young students. Other than that, I think it would be much easier to publish in an undergraduate or graduate journal. For example, I have 5 publications in undergraduate journals; not worth too much, but better than nothing! 

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Yes, it can take a long time to publish something, but you can list an article that has been accepted for publication but isn't in print yet as "forthcoming" on your cv, and if your article has been peer reviewed and you've edited it accordingly, you can be sure that it is as good of a paper as you'll be able to write (ie. it's an excellent writing sample.)


I was able to publish an article straight out of undergrad, and here was my timeline for that:

   fall-spring 2013: write 1st draft

   late spring 2013: submit article to potential journal

   June 2013: article is rejected from journal because the content was not a good fit for journal

   August 2013: submit article to a 2nd journal

   October 2013: article accepted pending edits

   fall-spring 2014: work on edits, send back paper for 2nd review

   June 2014: paper accepted for publication and published online first

   April 2015: paper published in print


So notice that my paper was accepted in June 2014 for publication but it took almost another year before it was in print. But I still listed it in my cv as "published online first" before it was in print.


As far as where I got published, what I wrote about was right in line with the journal that eventually published me, so even though it's a pretty good journal I was able to get published because the content was interesting enough. I'm not sure what else to say, other than that is the advice I've seen (which I didn't follow intentionally): you should write an article with a specific journal in mind. That way the content is in line with what they've published and you're joining the conversation that they're already having.


I was published in Sociology, the British Sociological Association's journal.

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