- What is aspeers?
- How do I come up with a good submission?
- How do I make sure my submission gets accepted?
- I have submitted a paper. When will I get feedback?
- What are the individual steps of the review process?
- How does the peer-review work?
- What types of editorial responses can I expect when I submit a paper to aspeers?
- Why is the editorial process so complicated? Why is there not just a simple accept/reject policy?
- I have another question. Where can I ask it?
What is aspeers?
aspeers is a peer reviewed annual journal for graduate-level American Studies in Europe. It is the first journal of its kind. It is embedded into the American Studies MA Program in Leipzig, Germany.
How do I come up with a good submission?
First of all, read and think about the Call for Papers. Try to gauge the scope it outlines, discuss it with others, with friends and fellow students. Then think about how you want to participate. Do you have a term paper coming up that you need to write anyways and that fits the topic of the next aspeers issue anyways? Are you in the process of writing your MA thesis and can you revise one chapter so that it fits the Call for Papers? These might be the most economic ways of coming up with a submission! Alternatively, think about your best previous work. Is there anything there that you can rework so that it fits the Call for Papers? Lastly, if you cannot use any of your previous work, do you feel inspired by the Call for Papers to write something entirely new?
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, make sure to keep your project focused and manageable. Concise case studies usually have a higher chance of getting published than grand-narrative style papers do. Also, even in the earliest stages of submitting work, check our submission guidelines! Check them twice :)
How do I make sure my submission gets accepted?
You don't. Seriously. There is no way, for no serious publication channel, to make sure that your submission gets accepted. First of all, the selection process often is competitive, secondly, there are too many factors at play, and thirdly, humans make mistakes. So nothing you can do will guarantee your work gets accepted. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.
- Pay attention to the submission guidelines. Make sure your paper's length corresponds to what the guidelines stipulate, etc. Best thing to do: print the submission guidelines and check the bullets off one by one.
- Take care of your submission's outer appearance. Use a spellchecker, let someone else read it for mistakes, use normal fonts (Times usually works best), don't get fancy. Contributions don't get rejected because they look weird, but a professionally looking paper makes it easier for the readers not to get distracted.
- Keep your project focused. The best and most exciting contributions are often ones that speak about one aspect, one small group of texts, one point in time, etc., in detail.
- The editors are selecting all submissions by quality. aspeers is a platform for the best work done on the graduate level of European American Studies. But even that usually means more submissions than there is space. In addition to publishing outstanding work, the editors want to make every issue's contributions work together to give multiple perspectives. Looking at previously overlooked aspects, at unexpected dynamics, etc., can help to make the editors want your work in the volume.
- Ask for help. Discuss your project with fellow students and your instructors. Tell them about aspeers and about your plan to submit. Chances are, they will have some more tips for you.
- Don't despair. As we have said above, there is nothing you can do to make sure your work gets published. But do give it a shot. Turning your work into your first publication submission will be a worthwhile experience, no matter what comes next!
What are the individual steps of the review process?
The review process for academic submissions works as follows:
- You send your paper, the copyright waiver and the biographical statement to firstname.lastname@example.org
- You get a short email back notifying you that we have received your submission.
- Our editorial team reviews your submission in its double-blind review process and notifies you with a short editorial response.
- If your paper gets accepted (or if we ask you for a resubmission), you get time to respond to the changes the editors suggest or demand.
- You resubmit your paper with changes. The paper now undergoes a copy-editing process in which our editors suggest smaller changes and edits.
- You get a chance to review the changes and respond to them.
- The paper gets published in aspeers.
How does the peer-review work?
All contributions to aspeers will be peer-reviewed by three members of the editorial board, a group of graduate students in American Studies. The review process is double-blind meaning that the editors do not know anything about the author's background, name, etc. In turn, you as an author will not know who is reading your paper. The review process is blind to make sure that it is as fair and neutral as possible.
After your paper has been reviewed by several editors, you will get an email notifying you of the editorial response.
What types of editorial responses can I expect when I submit a paper to aspeers?
After your submission has been reviewed by a group of editors, you will receive an email with one of four possible responses:
- unconditional acceptance: The editors have identified no relevant areas of improvement for your paper and would like to print it as is. You will only receive a camera ready pdf of your contribution after the editors have done some minor line editing.
- conditional acceptance: The editors would like to include your paper, but they have identified one or several issues that you will need to address to make the paper publishable in aspeers. After you have edited your submission accordingly, the editors will apply basic and line editing and will send you a camera ready copy to OK before the publication.
- request for resubmission: The editors would have liked to publish your paper, but one or more fundamental problems have made it impossible to accept it for publishing in aspeers. Since the editors agree that the paper's potential would justify a partial rewriting, they will ask you to consider this option. If you decide to address the fundamental concerns the editors had, you may resubmit your paper for reconsideration.
- rejection: Due to limitations in space and due to aspeers's very strict standards, the editors are unable to include all interesting submissions in the journal. Should the editors decline to publish your contribution this time around, please do not let this disencourage you. You will be very welcome to submit new work for the journal's next issue.
Why is the editorial process so complicated? Why is there not just a simple accept/reject policy?
The editors at aspeers believe that the editorial process is a most productive form of exchange. Regardless of whether you fully agree to the editorial feedback you will receive with a conditional acceptance or a request for resubmission, you can be sure that you will receive a sympathetic reader's candid response to your work. That is, in any case, a very rare form of feedback and a great opportunity to think about your work's impact on its potential readership.
We thus encourage you to see the editorial requests for changes not as a form of punishment, or as an attempt by the editors to "have it their way." Instead, please realize that you and the editors have a common goal: to create the best possible issue of aspeers. You and the editors work on this goal together, and this is a form of professional collaboration very common on the PhD- and post-PhD levels of American Studies (and other academic fields, of course). Working with the editors on your contribution, though demanding and possibly frustrating at times, gives you a chance to practice this kind of collaboration.
I have another question. Where can I ask it?
Please feel free to send us an email. We greatly appreciate any kind of feedback!