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Coauthoring: A Pathway to Publication

Coauthoring: A Pathway to Publication

by Dr. Nicole B. Dhanraj
November 30, 2015

by: Nicole Dhanraj, Ph.D., R.T (R)(CT)(MR)

Often, potential or novice authors feel intimidated or fearful of the publication idea and therefore fail to pursue what is thought of as a challenging task. Those in academia encourage publication as an element of a successful career in academia whether as an income method or to establish and maintain credibility.

The following article sheds some insights on the benefits of coauthoring and collaboration as a means of getting started in academic publishing.


The Need to Publish

Somewhere along your academic career timeline, you probably have been heard the chant, publish, publish, publish. In addition to excitement, such words elicit feelings of fear, anxiety and even frustration. This article serves to alleviate such emotions and any other angst over publication through use of a buddy system.

Publication Buddy

You know the idiom, two hands are better than one, right? So then why face the fear or anxiety alone? Well for one, misery loves company!! Typically this is true, but in this case, the company softens or removes the misery. With social media and the plethora of online networking groups that are free to join, opportunities to find like-minded persons to join the publication journey become easier. Virtual or face to face collaborations not only help make the task less daunting but allow the opportunity to extend yourself into new areas, further refine expertise in various methodological designs and above all nix any procrastination or start-up drag.

Coauthoring Scenarios

As a novice publisher, coauthoring can take many forms. Here are a few quick scenarios.

    1. You can consider pro bono collaborative work with other novice publishers. Here each author picks an area that they have expertise and tackle that portion of the article. Frequent check-ins maintains commitment and accountability between the authors.  Authors, in this case serve as a mentor and sounding board for each other. You don’t necessarily need to share same ideals. The key is to respect each other’s point of view and use the article’s concept and framework as mediation tool.
    2. Another method of coauthoring is finding a “silent” partner(s). Here a coauthor may have a more relaxed role and serve to provide guidance only. This is similar to a mentor. You can negotiate their guidance for a predetermined fee or acknowledgement within the paper. Many faculty members take advantage of these opportunities as a means of expanding their publication works. Though their involvement is much less than your input, they still reap the publication credit.
    3. You can seek research assistants. These can be in the form of students, or those found on global websites that provide various services for significantly reduced fees. While these assistants may not make a substantive contribution, they can certainly help with time consuming activities such as data collection and organization. This way, you retain all the credit but had some background help.

Building a Successful Relationship

Whatever form of coauthoring you decide, you will need to discuss the subject in depth, expectations, timelines and overall division of the workload to avoid any exploitative, unscrupulous behavior or strained relationships. Ensure that you set realistic goals and that you communicate frequently. Life gets in the way, or some are more adept to multitasking more than others. You may want to set up coauthoring terms formally via a contract, but this isn’t mandatory. Other issues you would want to discuss include writing styles, use of editors, project lead and lastly the types of journals or conferences you are seeking especially since some may require a financial contribution. As with any relationship, there may be some degree of compromise involved to settle disagreements. Having an open and positive attitude will support the relationship’s success.

Ready, Set, Publish

Are you ready? Don’t let fear stall your publication aspirations. Find a buddy to collaborate. Make a commitment and take action. Send a quick note to a previous faculty member or mentor, post a wanted ad on social media, or better yet start an online discussion of the topic. Whether your intent is to boost your income or solidify your credibility, your path to academic publication is about to begin. It definitely commands time and commitment, but coauthoring will provide you the advantage. Soon, you too will be chanting the same mantra, publish, publish, publish, when asked for the secret ingredient to enhancing your academic career.