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Publishing in academic journals

There are a number of UK journals dedicated specifically to publishing research on Africa, and many of these are keen to increase the number of articles they publish from African scholars.

For a listing of the major UK Africanist journals, or other journals who publish a substantial amount of research on Africa, see the Directory of Africanist Journals on this site. Please note, that as the directories are still being developed, this directory is not entirely comprehensive, and at present focuses on journals published by UK-based publishers.

Each journal has a particular subject or regional focus, and each has their own submission requirements. The Directory provides detailed information on this, including links to the journals' own websites and details of the editor for each. This should help you identify the most appropriate journals for your work, and to understand the types of research they are interested in publishing.

Advice and support


AuthorAID, an initiative of INASP, is designed to support early career researchers in developing countries to publish and communicate their work by providing networking, mentoring, resources and training.

The AuthorAID website enables researchers to search for experienced academics who are willing to offer mentoring and support to those at an earlier stage of their career. By registering on the site you can search for potential mentors, and join their discussion forums to seek advice from other researchers. The website also maintains a resource library and has a regular blog of advice on getting published. Researchers can also use the site to seek mentors, experienced researchers willing to help them to get their work into suitable form for publication.  AuthorAID run a series of writing workshops of their own, as well as offering information about training offered by other organisations.

Early Career Scholars Writing Workshops

The African Studies Association of the UK, supported by the British Academy, has organised a series of writing workshops, led by experienced editors from UK Africanist journals. These have been held in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia and events are planned for Ethiopia and Kenya in 2013.

Many other research associations and bodies run writing workshops as part of their conferences or as separate events. 

Guidance from publishers

Most journals have dedicated advice pages detailing what types of articles they will consider publishing. Many publishers also offer advice sections for prospective authors on their website.

Taylor and Francis, for example, have a dedicated AuthorServices section of their website with advice on choosing a journal and writing an article  and advice from individual editors. There are also a series of guides which can be downloaded. Wiley Blackwell have advice on optimizing your article to make it more easily discovered in Google.

This 2013 editorial from Politics, published by the Political Studies Association, on the 'Changing Landscape of Academic Publishing' explains how the submission and review process works for a specific journal.

Writing in African studies journals - ECAS

The 4th European Conference on African Studies in June 2011 held a side event on Writing in African Studies Journals: what, how, and where. A summary of the advice given during the session, with simple tips on how to write a good article, how to choose a journal, and some links to African studies journals and their guidelines is available on the ilissAfrica site.

Academic publishing - Guardian Higher Education Network

In August 2011 The Guardian newspaper’s Higher Education Network ran an online Q and A session on ‘how to get ahead in academic publishing’. Contributors considered:

  • Blogs, and the extent to which they were a good option for publishing and promoting academic work
  • How to identify which publishers to approach with a new manuscript, and how to put together a book proposal that a publisher is likely to be interested in
  • How to turn an academic thesis into a publishable form
  • How to market your book – when you do get it published
  • For journal publishing, the pros and cons of print over online-only title

A further Guardian article considers how to develop a postdoc publishing strategy.

PhD 2 Published

For early career academics, the PhD2Published site may prove useful. There are a series of ‘top tips’ from authors and publishers and a ‘weekly wisdom’ section as well as advice on how to make the most of social media.