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Traditional methods of scholarly communication

Books and book chapters

Books and book chapters can prove an excellent format for communicating research output, particularly for the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

We recommend you publish with well-known, reputable publishers. See publishers’ websites for subject coverage and audience. Always read the author guidelines before submitting a book proposal or book chapter.

Conference papers

Conference papers can lead to publications in conference proceedings. Proceedings are a collection of articles or papers published from an academic conference.

The collection of papers is organized by an editorial team. The quality of the papers is ensured by having external people read the papers before they are accepted in the proceedings. The level of quality control varies considerably from conference to conference: some have only a binary accept/reject decision, others go through more thorough feedback and revisions cycles (peer reviewing or refereeing). Depending on the level of the conference, this process can take up to a year. The editors decide about the composition of the proceedings, the order of the papers, and produce the preface and possibly other pieces of text. Although most changes in papers occur on basis of consensus between editors and authors, editors can also single-handedly make changes in papers.

Contact your Liaison Librarian for conference directories relevant to your subject area.


Academic journals are periodicals in which researchers publish articles on their work. Most often these articles discuss recent research. Journals also publish theoretical discussions and articles that critically review already published work. The function of a journal is to distribute knowledge.

Each academic journal has a peer review (or editorial) board that decides which submissions are acceptable for publication. Authors must submit an article manuscript for consideration by the journal editors, who will send the submission to other scholars who do similar work and who are qualified to review the article. Generally, editors will send submissions to be reviewed by three other scholars. Then the editors evaluate the reviews and decide whether to reject or accept the submission.

The review board will investigate and challenge the author’s major assumptions and conclusions, and if the board feels the article is worth further consideration, the author will have a chance to respond. If the author is asked to make revisions, they resubmit the article for another round of reviews. Sometimes the article is accepted at this point and other times authors are asked to make further revisions. The process is meant to make sure that only the best, most clearly written and rigorously researched articles are published.

If the topic of the article is the subject of a lot of scholarly attention, some other scholar in the field is likely to publish a new article that challenges or corrects certain details in a published article.

For more information see Publishing strategies

Traditional commercial scholarly publication requires that you hand over your copyright to the publishing company. If you would rather retain your copyright, please contact your liaison librarian.