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I'm an undergrad and I would like to publish in a research journal, specifically, ones about chemical pedagogy.

Is it hard to get an article published in a journal?

Are there any other venues which may be easier - i.e. do you know of any say magazines on chemical pedagogy or aimed toward chemistry educators? I'd imagine that the standards for publication in a magazine are lower than in a scientific journal.

Any advice for a beginner at writing and publishing?

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    Do you have an advisor at your university? They would be the appropriate person to ask this.
    – user10060
    Jun 19, 2014 at 18:49
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    Is it hard to get an article published in a journal? — Well, that depends on the article, doesn't it?
    – JeffE
    Jun 19, 2014 at 21:16
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    Most articles outline new/original research using new/original data and some sort of experiment and statistics. Did you do anything of the sort, or is it more of a review?
    – Behacad
    Jun 23, 2014 at 18:08
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    @JeffE: ...and the journal. :-)
    – cardinal
    Jun 23, 2014 at 22:55

4 Answers 4

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I would imagine that your best bet is to talk to a faculty member about it. Find a faculty member who is also interested in the topic. They can probably give you good advice on this and may even be interested in co-authoring the paper with you (which is probably more realistic as an undergrad), and honestly going this route wouldn't be too bad for you since your name would then be associated with an expert on the subject, giving you more credibility.

One thing I've learned in college is that if you have an idea, talking to a faculty member about it can get you a lot of opportunities. And if you talk to someone and they can't help you, they can almost always refer you to someone else who can be of help.

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If you ask questions "Is it hard to get an article published in a journal?", about journals and in general "Any advice for a beginner at writing and publishing?", etc. then it is very unlikely you will publish something in a reputable journal, based only on a few lines of advice via Internet.

However:

  • try looking at student's conferences; very often there are great places to share undergraduate work, and learn how to present results (via posters, talks, sometimes - conference proceedings),
  • ask someone from your university to look at your work, and guide you through the first publication (a lot of work, but worth it); but since it's chemistry you do it in someone's lab, right?
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Depends on the journal. You might want to try publishing in your university's undergraduate journal if you don't have backing from a faculty member.

[For an example of a university-specific undergraduate journal, click here.]

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    "your university's undergraduate journal" What's that? Jun 20, 2014 at 4:09
  • How is backing from a faculty member relevant? Jun 20, 2014 at 7:52
  • Having support from a faculty member is relevant because, even if you are a good writer, writing a journal article is a difficult skill to learn on your own. The faculty member can help you learn this skill.
    – mhwombat
    Jun 24, 2014 at 11:41
  • example of undergraduate journal: thurj.org
    – David
    Jun 26, 2014 at 20:44
  • @David: That's a good answer, thanks. (I was a graduate student at Harvard not so terribly long ago, but the journal did not exist then.) I think that if you're not fortunate enough to go to Harvard it is less than likely that your university has an undergraduate journal of its own...but this may no longer be true X years from now. I took the liberty of editing the link into your answer -- I hope you don't mind. Doing so also allowed me to reverse my downvote. Jun 27, 2014 at 3:43
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Yes, it is hard to publish in a peer reviewed journal.

If it were easy anybody and everybody would do it. That should not prevent you from trying.

Typically a magazine is easier to publish in. The real question you need to ask yourself is "Who is my target audience?" The general public? Or experts in the field? If the general public, a magazine might be the best choice.

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