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Publishing partnership a win-win

Collaboration among academics is not unique, but combining their subject expertise with library know-how demonstrates that creative partnerships can be both inspirational and practical .
A recent partnership between a librarian and a geography professor at Carleton University has showcased the library’s support for graduate student publishing and culminated in publication of a journal article: Publishing Graduate Student Research in Geography: The Fundamentals was appeared in the Journal of Geography in Higher Education in October 2012.

My collaboration with Patricia Ballamingie, a professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, arose after we participated in a panel discussion on graduate student publication in geography. As scholarly publishing issues become increasingly important on campuses everywhere, we decided to highlight several different publishing experiences, including ways the library can best support young scholars who are just starting out on the “publish or perish” highway.Our paper offers practical advice on publishing graduate student research within the discipline of geography by addressing the questions of why, when, where, what, how and with whom to publish. The first section, entitled “The paper chase”, delineates the importance of publishing, identifies potential material for publication, suggests venues for publishing, and offers practical advice on how to negotiate the publishing process (with regard to peers, supervisors and editors). The “In library resources” section discusses the effective use of library reference resources, demystifies the significance of impact factors, and elucidates the history of Open Access publishing.

While plenty of guidance is available on how to conduct good research, there is a lack of clear and helpful advice on practical matters such what to publish, where to publish, how to handle rejection and how to reply to peer reviewer’s comments. Our article is a deliberate attempt to combine our expertise and offer this practical guidance. We worked together seamlessly by critiquing each other’s work at regular intervals, and used Dropbox to help us stay in sync with multiple editorial changes. Although the journal editor suggested revisions to our original manuscript, we took our own advice and made the changes quickly, and provided evidence to back up our changes – a process that improved the article significantly and resulted in acceptance.

Overall, we felt that most of the referee’s comments were useful and ultimately helped us to produce a superior paper. Our collaboration proved successful thanks to compatible working styles, a shared commitment to our students, and a mutual respect for each other’s expertise. At last check, since publication just over two months ago, our article has received 98 views – an excellent outcome all around!


Full citation:
Ballamingie, Patricia & Susan Tudin (2012) ‘Publishing Graduate Student Research in Geography: The Fundamentals’ in Journal of Geography in Higher Education, URL:
Susan Tudin is a Subject Specialist at the Carleton University Library.

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