In the academic world, your thesis is usually the first academic work you produce. A student thesis does not have the same academic level as a doctoral thesis for example, but they still have much in common. They both need to follow the rules of scholarly texts: for example they should have an academic language, they should refer to their sources correctly, they should have a certain structure, and some originality.
The aim for scholars is to publish their research results in some form, and reach colleagues and other people who are interested around the world. With the continuous increase of Internet access, research findings are spread faster than ever before. Researchers can choose to publish their texts in a number of different formats, but the most common are:
- Journal articles
- Conference articles
- Books/book chapters
- Research reports
Different fields of research have different traditions regarding what form of publication you choose. In the humanities, traditionally it has been common to publish in the form of books or book chapters, while in engineering, focus has been on conference or journal articles.
A researcher, who is going to publish an article, usually publishes her work in a traditional academic journal, where you need some kind of subscription to be able to take part of the contents. In recent years though, it has become increasingly common to publish in a so called open access journal. Open access means that the document is available for free, without any demand for subscription. If a journal is published according to an open access model, this does not mean that it is of lesser quality than a traditional journal, or that it is not peer-reviewed. An alternative way to publish open access is so called self-archiving, where the journal allows the author to publish an open access copy of the article on his website or in the university’s electronic archive.
On the web site Directory of Open Access Journals you can search among thousands of Open access journals.
Many universities have their own electronic archives where research results are published. The purpose of these archives is to make the research visible and accessible, often in full text. Information from the local archives is gathered in a database for scientific publishing from Swedish universities, SwePub. There are also different archives (local and national) where students’ theses are made available.
When an article has been submitted to a journal for publishing, a scientific review (peer-review) of the text is made. The review, which is carried out by other researchers in the same subject field, aims at securing a certain scientific standard of the text. Based on the result of the review, the journal’s editorial staff decides whether the article should be published with only minor changes, undergo a more thorough revision before publishing, or if it should be rejected.