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How and Where to Publish Geoscience Education Work

General guidelines

It is important to understand the scope of the journal when considering where to submit your GER research for possible publication. Some education journals emphasize practitioner research on the scholarship on teaching and learning (SoTL), and some education journals emphasize discipline-based empirical or theoretical studies (DBER) that address education questions and hypotheses, and some journals do both. Whether your goal is to publish in a SoTL or DBER journal, preparation is key. The following are eight steps to help you get started:

  1. Recognize that GER is a rigorous research area that has standards for theory and methods. A submitted manuscript needs to reflect this rigor.
  2. Find out the scope of the journal. Look at several recent issues to get a feel for what they publish.
    • A list of potential places to publish geoscience education research (GER and SoTL) has been added as a Spreadsheet of GER Journals (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 25kB Oct7 16). The spreadsheet includes links to the journal sites and to the (SJR) "H factor" for journals that have this metric. An H factor is one metric to evaluate the productivity and impact of a journal. The spreadsheet is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but a guide to the most relevant places for GER publication.
  3. Follow the journal's guidelines to authors on content and format.
  4. Examine the journal's guidelines to reviewers to understand how your manuscript will be evaluated.
  5. Communicate with the editor prior to submission if you are unsure if the venue is appropriate for your work.
  6. Consider expanding authorship to include potential collaborators that bring important expertise to the study.
    • Sometimes it is hard to decide who should be a co-author on a paper versus who should merely be mentioned in the Acknowledgements. A document was developed for a cognitive science/ learning science group led by Stephen Kosslyn at Harvard. Additional perspectives are provided in an essay by Marcus and Oransky (2013) in Labtimes, and an essay by Venkatraman (201) in Science.
  7. Cite articles from the journal you seek to publish in, but also cite the broader education literature to build a strong literature context for your work.
  8. Institutional Revenue Board (IRB) approval or exemption is a requirement of most geoscience education research; therefore, find out what the journal's expectations are for documentation of IRB approval (e.g. approval letter, consent form, etc.).

Additional considerations

Publications increase the visibility and value of geoscience education in broader communities of geoscience, DBER, and education. The extent of this visibility (for better or worse) partially depends on the prestige of the journal within its respective communities. For some scholars this is significant for tenure and promotion. Therefore:
  • Investigate different metrics of a journal's impact factor.
  • Talk with your department head and P&T committee members to find out the requirements/expectations for publishing in journals. For example, is impact factor a major consideration in P&T evaluation?
  • Select journals in different communities (geoscience, DBER, education) to increase the visibility of your work.
Publication costs can vary widely between journals and must be anticipated in manuscript preparation. Published authors of GER suggest new authors consider the following:
  • Investigate journal costs (e.g., page charges) prior to submitting manuscript.
  • Remember that open source journals can be very expensive.

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