By Katie Barclay, The University of Adelaide
Last week, as one of the editors of Emotions: History, Culture, Society (EHCS), I attended a ‘Meet the Editors’ event that ran as part of the 2017 International Society for Research on Emotion conference in St Louis, Missouri. Aimed at early career researchers, a number of editors of top emotions journals gave their top tips on getting published in emotions research journals. Despite the range of topics covered – from affective computing to behavioural science to humanities scholarship – some of the advice was remarkably similar across fields.
We wanted submissions that made a strong contribution to emotions scholarship – does it illustrate something we already know or does it transform how we understand emotion? An important tip here was to clearly identify the literature/s your work contributes to with an explicit statement of how your article advances ideas in that scholarship. This was especially important for inter- and multi-disciplinary journals where the editors might not have personal knowledge of arguments in your field; make sure they know what is at stake!
Make sure that emotions are at the front and centre of your analysis for a journal on emotions. If you are a scholar of religion or parenting or computing, it can be tempting to locate emotions as secondary to your primary field. But for emotions journals, turn this around so that the contribution to our understanding of emotion is foregrounded. This will usually mean engaging with an emotions scholarship, in addition to that of your primary field; it will certainly involve interrogating emotion – what is it, what is it doing, what difference does it make – as a central strand of your argument. Your key contribution to scholarship might still be in your primary field, but prioritise emotion when driving home your significance and novelty.
For emotions journals that target multidisciplinary audiences, remembering that your reader is key. Journals with broad readerships need their articles to be easily understood by diverse audiences, so avoid unnecessary jargon, explain key assumptions and drive home what is at stake in YOUR field. Articles that can speak across fields and contribute to larger multidisciplinary conversations are, of course, the goal for many, but sometimes it can be enough to show that something interesting and important is happening in your area that might be of interest to others or that can help give others an access point into a particular scholarship.
Explain your methodology fully and clearly. Why have you chosen the parameters you have for your study? Why these sources, this sample, this scale? What implications does it have for your findings? Some of the more science-orientated journals were concerned that a lack of transparency around methodology was designed to disguise the limitation of results, and editors weren’t necessarily turned off by a small study as long as its findings were interesting and its claims appropriate. In the humanities, size was deemed less significant but a clear sense of method was still considered to be important in aiding an understanding of a study’s claims and significance.
For everyone, reading the guidelines for contributors was a key piece of advice. Is this journal the right fit for you and have you shaped your work to its aims? Have you edited your contribution to match the style guide? And finally, is it beautifully written?
The journal Emotions: History, Culture, Society is open to new submissions from scholars whose work furthers our understanding of the emotions as culturally- and temporally-situated phenomena, or which explores the role of emotion in shaping human experience and action by individuals, groups, societies and cultures. We consider submissions from any discipline, any period and any place. Please check out our webpage for further details.
Fancy trying your hand at editing? EHCS is also calling for proposals for a themed issue that will be published in 2019. Issues can be on any topic that falls within the journal’s remit. They should be theoretically-informed and bring a range of methodological perspectives to the topic. ‘Methodology’ here is construed broadly to incorporate different disciplinary, theoretical and methodological approaches. For more information, see our call for papers.
Katie Barclay is an historian of gender, the family, the self and emotions. She is a DECRA Fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at The University of Adelaide, and a member of the Council for the Society for the History of Emotions. She is co-editor, with Andrew Lynch, of Emotions: History, Culture, Society.