This claim should grab the attention of most academics: "You can write a good academic paper in a couple of days" (Day, 1996, p. 87). Abby Day's book How To Get Research Published in Journals makes that claim and sets out to prove it. The back cover of the book says it is the first book to address the subject of getting research published. Moreover, Dr Day has been a publishing and editorial consultant and now is the executive director of a group of marketing journals for MCB University Press. Thus it is worth investigating her claim.
This review looks at How To Get Research Published in Journals from the point of view of academics, marketing academics in particular, to identify its strengths and weaknesses and to draw out its implications for would-be journal article authors and for the structuring of PhD programmes. Several related papers are referenced to place Day's book in a context of previous writing on the topic.
Essentially, I argue that the book's strengths are its structured approaches to planning and writing an article and its description of the survey of journal editors and readers on which the book is based. But its weaknesses include its confusing treatment of the structure of an article and its lack of references to other writers on the topic.
The review is structured in three parts. The first is an evaluative summary of the book's chapters. On that summary, the second part considers the strengths and weaknesses of the book. Finally, implications are drawn for academics and for their training of PhD students.
The first part of the book: setting your objectives
The first five chapters of the book are about setting objectives and are essentially scene-setting ones. Having the whole of the first chapter devoted to answering the question of "Why publish?" would have appeared unnecessary in a book aimed at academics for the answer is clearly "to not perish". However, Day begins by correctly pointing out that the process of drafting and redrafting an article helps us to clarify our ideas regardless of whether they will form part of an article or not. "Usually, to get it right, you have to get it wrong first" (p. 5). The second chapter points out how to overcome the major barrier to publishing of fear of criticism: follow the procedures in her book and do not aspire to perfection. She quotes wise Christian Gronroos: "There are only two types of articles; those that are perfect and never get published, and those that are good enough and do" (p. 5).
The third chapter is more meaty for it introduces the two most important questions that editors and reviewers ask (p. 20):
* What is this paper about? …