The Publishing Support at FEd MU: step by step

31 May 2022

Ing. Vendula Kratochvílová, Mgr. Jana Veličková

Interview with Tomas Janík

This interview introduces a newly created website that focuses on publishing support at FEd MU (available here). The following text is a follow-up to the interview with Tomáš Janík titled: How to navigate the matter of publishing at FEd, MU?

1. Mr. Vice-Dean, the MU Faculty of Education is launching a newly created website introducing publishing support. Could you please tell us what the initiative behind its creation was?

It was the needs of colleagues, often early-stage researchers, who pointed out in focus groups in connection with the HR Excellence in Research Award (HR Award) project that, on the one hand, there are considerable demands on the quality of publishing. Still, on the other, it is difficult for them to navigate this area. They lack an overview of the possibilities of how to draft texts, where to direct texts, and so on. A working group was set up within the HR Award project to develop the website – to organize and systematize the available information. These efforts have been well received, as the aim is to ensure that the publications are thematically relevant but at the same time valued and used by experts in the field, both nationally and internationally. The focus was, therefore, on how to support such high-quality publications at their inception stage. And in fact, this has gone hand in hand with changes in the faculty's publishing practice, where we are trying to move away from a larger number of less challenging and less valued publications to a smaller number of higher quality publications that are effectively disseminated to professional communities, have citation and response rates, and therefore have a more substantial impact.

2. Getting oriented in publishing is not easy. Could you please guide the authors through this process? What does it entail?

Certainly. Publishing has individual stages, phases, or steps that unfold in a temporal sequence, although often with different procedures. On the author's side, it begins with adopting a scientific identity and forming a publishing strategy. If I work in a particular field at a university, I consider publishing part of my profession. I compose diverse texts to reach out to scientific communities. But I can also go beyond this ambition – I can have an outreach into the field of practice or relevant departmental policy, for example. So I need to plan my publishing strategy, which may also have specifics depending on what fits me as an author.

3. And if we were to break it down step by step?

If we focus on the production of a journal study, which is the dominant type of scientific text, I begin by choosing a journal appropriate for the topic of my manuscript. In doing so, I take into account the language of the journals published in the journal, the journal's professional reputation, its scientometric parameters, etc. I am interested in having my text in a good journal with a "good address," meaning with readers and professional communities that are or may be interested in my topic.

The second step is to secure funding. This is a new challenge nowadays – it is assumed that the author will have funds that will go to the journals or their publishers as, for example, editorial fees. This is a change from previous practice – publishing is increasingly falling into a fee-for-service mode. This can put authors in a difficult situation. Still, grant agencies allow these expenses to be included in project budgets, and many faculties or universities that are serious about science take the current trend as a given support author by creating certain funds from which funding can be drawn.

The third step is to address the issue of authorship and related intellectual property. Here we also touch on the topic of publishing ethics. Publication ethics defines the conditions under which a person is a co-author, and the variations of co-authorship are also described. Thus, an imaginary field for collaborative text production is defined. In order for an authorial team to navigate this terrain in a professional, healthy, and honest manner, these issues need to be addressed. As a rule, we write texts as ‘employee works’, which are then further regulated by copyright law. As you can see, this opens up a range of issues that authors have to deal with.

The fourth stage consists of the actual creation of the text and is the most creative. Creating a scientific text is not just about formulating ideas; it also involves a range of preparatory activities necessary for the text to come into being. Thus, in creating a scientific text, we return to the research itself, which had to be somehow designed, implemented, processed, evaluated, and reflected upon – otherwise, a text about it could not even have been created. In writing, we consider not only the spirit but also the stylistic and formal requirements of the chosen genre.

After the creation of the text, there is a fifth phase, which is supposed to guarantee its quality in terms of content, language, and form. Various types of proofreading and revisions are applied here - linguistic proofreading, checking that the manuscript complies with the requirements of a certain citation standard, etc. For example, compliance with a standard (e.g., APA or CSN) is another stage that needs to be well managed, as a text formally handled sloppily will usually hit a snag in the editorial and/or review process. The authors' efforts end with proofreading and forwarding the manuscript to the editors.

This process usually takes a month or two, sometimes longer. From the editorial or review process, the author receives a notification that tells them how the manuscript should (must!) be handled further, ranging from the rejection option ("the manuscript will not be published") to the option "the manuscript will eventually be published after serious modifications" to the favorable option: "the manuscript will be published after minor modifications," or "the manuscript will be published without modifications." "However, this will usually not happen, as manuscripts are not always perfect, and editors and reviewers are generally quite demanding. So this is the stage where the authors deal with the editing requests and complete the text.

Once a text/manuscript passes the review process, it is included for publication and awaits publication (in print or electronic form, on a website, etc.). The text becomes part of the overall publication output of the relevant scientific community and is available for use. If it is published in Open Access (gold) mode, it is available, so to speak, without. The important thing is that the author can distribute thier text as they see fit ‒ share it, etc. Social scientific networks (e.g., Research Gate) have been increasingly used for communication, intensifying and dynamising professional contacts between researchers on a global scale. This last phase completes the whole publishing process – after that, the text takes on a life of its own.

4. What role can other parties play in the process – e.g., Technology Transfer Office etc.?

Yes, there are types of outputs of scientific work that are elaborated to such an extent and directed in such a way that not much is missing, and they are advanced into practice. Sometimes people talk about technology transfer in this context. The important thing is that it is about impact and dissemination – about taking a result to some modification, modernisation, or innovation that gradually becomes part of regular operation. This is a crucial part of the whole research, development, and innovation process. It should not be neglected.

Dear Mr. Vice-Dean, thank you for the interesting interview about the publishing process and the possibilities of support offered by the Faculty of Education of MU to its authors. We appreciate that you have made time in your busy itinerary for our readers, and we wish you every success in your professional life.

Browse the new Publishing Support website at the MU Faculty of Education.

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