Thursday, September 24, 2009

Publication dismay/query

I am disheartened and need advice.

Today I emailed the editors of the two journals in which I have published/had work accepted for publication, verifying that the publication of (different, revised versions of) those articles in the book would be okay. My understanding is that my doing so is largely a courtesy, right? I should note that the book is eight chapters long, so two previously published bits--one of which is only half a chapter--is not excessive.

Haven't heard back from one yet, but I'm not terribly worried about it.

Got an email from the second. This is Big Fancy Journal, and they accepted my article almost two years ago, but it's not in the pipeline yet. Editor writes (very nicely) that ze could push publication ahead so that it'll beat the book, but is there a point? Maybe I should withdraw the article with a note in the book about how it was going to be published in BFJ but would have appeared too close to the book for that to be worthwhile?

I see where ze's coming from, but...I really want to publish in this journal. Of course, it's a nice line on the CV. But more importantly, I think that it will reach a much wider audience--not to mention being available through JStor, Ebsco, etc.--through the journal than through the book.

The article is not identical to the chapter, by the way. It's about half as long and, while the argument is similar, the emphasis is different. It was changed quite a bit from the original chapter in order to stand alone, and then even the original chapter was revised quite a bit for the book. Now, it's not an altogether different thing, and I couldn't make a strong argument that it contributes to the field in a substantially different way. But the journal did commit to publishing the article (right? I think? maybe?), and, well, see the point about being made available to a wider audience, above.

I haven't written back to the editor yet, but I'm wondering: What's the protocol here? Can I (politely, acknowledging that it's ultimately up to the editor) indicate that I'd really prefer to have the article published in BFJ anyway? Or would that be out of line/simply not done? It's a bummer to be sure.... I was pretty psyched about that acceptance (and have been waiting impatiently for publication, too!).

(Kittenfoot is fine. Updates to follow.)


Notorious Ph.D. said...

Oh, this was a nail-biter for me, too. Journal of Excellent Studies had a huge backlog, so while I thought my accepted article would beat the book by *at least* 6 months, it now looks like it's going to be a dead heat.

Here's what I'd do: write in the most confident manner you can muster, after first convincing *yourself* that it can all be worked out. Your letter to the journal should be something that establishes you as an ally: "My yes, this *is* a pickle we are in! Of course, I've been very excited about my publication in Slow as Molassess Quarterly, and I certainly understand that the editors will want the article to come out before the book, even if only by a bit. That makes perfect sense to me, and I'm happy to put in whatever work it takes to make that happen according to press timeline constraints."

Like that: no hint that the non-publication has even entered your mind as an option, an appreciation for the work they're putting in, and a healthy dose of "we're on the same team."

It may or may not work, but I think this is the best way to go.

heu mihi said...

Thanks, Notorious! I don't think that I can fully ignore the possibility of its not being published, though, so I'll toss in some "here's why I still want to publish with you" stuff, I think. When I reread the email this morning (I was too wounded last night to do so), it seemed less absolute than it had at first--almost like ze was asking me permission to pull the article. And so, no, I won't give that permission, at least not freely. In fact, I started getting kind of angry about the situation this morning. Dude, they've held the article for almost two years already, and never told me that it would take this long to come out. I could've published it elsewhere by now. Penalizing *me* for their slow publication time seems patently unfair, especially since they *did* agree to publish the article way back before it was going to be a chapter. So I'm growing a backbone and getting ready to write a confident, "Yes let's publish it at the earlier date, that is what I'd like to do!" email.

Any other advice, though, before I potentially piss off the editor of a major journal?