Top tips #8: Become a peer reviewer

No matter how you might feel about the state of peer review, becoming a peer reviewer could well be a useful way of becoming familiar with the process that papers go through before eventually getting into print. The peer review process can really help to improve an article before publication and therefore make it more relevant and useful to readers.

Elsevier have tips for anyone interested in becoming a reviewer:

As you begin to publish in your field, you will become known and as a consequence, invited to complete more peer review work.


Top tips #7: Follow the instructions to authors

Each journal will have a section on its home page for “Instructions to authors”. These are there to help you as a potential author understand what the editor is looking for, and to get your work published.

There should be an indication of the types of research that the journal is aiming to publish, and also expectations of word length. There should also be details on the house style of the journal, for example, whether the active (We did…) or passive (the research done was…) voice is preferred.

Following the instructions to authors with care will lead to a greater chance of getting your work into print, and avoid your work being rejected at the first stage in the process.

Top tips #4 Do a warm up

Seeing that blank page ahead of you can be really daunting when you’re planning on writing. With acaemic writing, having a structure can really help avoid this (see Top tip #1) but sometimes you still don’t really know where to begin.


As with exercising, sometimes you need to flex your muscles and do a warm up to really get going on your writing. This could be by a stream of consciousness style of writing, just getting anything out onto the page; or “nutshelling” your project, writing about what you’re going to write about. Imagine you’re sending a letter to one of Bertie Wooster’s favourite aunts and explaining the work you’re planning to undertake. It can be conversational, as though you’re telling the person sat next to you on the bus. Anything to get those synapses firing and your words flowing onto the page.

Top Tips #3 Don’t write & edit at the same time!

When you’re writing, it can be easy to lose the flow of your ideas if you forget the word for something, or make errors and go back over what you’ve already written to edit as you spot them.

As a personal example, I will always remember completely forgetting the word “rehearsal” in a piece of creative writing for my GCSE English work; what I should have done is quickly write “when you’re practising the play and working out what to do on stage” as an aide memoire and gone back to it later, or asked someone, or left a big gap for the word. What I did do was write “audition” in its place and then forgot to go back and handed it in. Don’t let that happen to you!  Find a way to highlight to yourself that certain phrases or words will need attention at the editing stage, and try to keep your writing separate from your editing.

Top tips #2

If you’re struggling to get started with your writing, or you just don’t have the confidence to put your project “out there”, why not book onto one of our FREE Writing for Publication workshops?

In this workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to sit and write, to make a start on your project, and to understand some of the key processes involved in getting your name into print.

Book via the eUHL booking system for 2017’s Writing for Publication sessions.


Thursday 19th Jan 2017, 2pm – 4pm, Glenfield

Monday 27th Feb 2017, 10am – 12pm, LRI

Tuesday 28th Mar 2017, 10am – 12pm, LGH