How to get published workshop: a summary

At the BES Annual Meeting last year in December, the Publications team ran a ‘how to get published’ session as part of the Early Career Workshop.

The session was a great success, with over 100 Early Career Researchers in attendance. We had two guest speakers, Katie Field (University of Leeds) and Rob Salguero-Gomez (University of Sheffield), who talked about preparing a manuscript for submission, the importance of choosing the correct journal to submit to, and their own hints and tips covering the whole publication process. Katie and Rob have summarised their advice below…


Before you start writing, you need to ask yourself, is what you want to write about new and interesting? Does it contribute to a hot topic or provide solutions to difficult problems?  Sometimes the publishing process can feel like a long and arduous journey, but there are some steps you can take to minimise that pain and maximise the impact of your research. 

First, make sure you choose the appropriate journal for your manuscript. Think about who you want to read your paper when it is eventually published and whether those people are the target audience of the journal you are aiming for. Impact factor can be an important feature in your decision, but remember that it’s really not everything; choose the journal you and your colleagues read and talk about the most.  Check out the Aims & Scope and Information for Authors for your chosen journal before you start writing– after all, if your article doesn’t fit the remit, it has zero chance of being accepted! Finally, having satisfied these steps you can go ahead and write your manuscript! 

Katie Field, Associate Editor, Functional Ecology


In the second part of the ‘how to get published’ workshop, we reviewed the hierarchical organisation that most peer-review journals follow, as well as responding to revision decisions. A thorough response to reviewers and editors is very important. Allow me to share with you some good practices that I use in my own responses to reviewers.

  • In your response letter, be sure to highlight the main modifications that the editors and reviewers asked for, using bullet points or numbers for clarity.
  • Many times independent reviewers will ask for the same modification to be done. You can respond to these in one point.
  • Ensure your tone is polite, and your language is formal.
  • Refer to the editor and reviewer as “editor” and “reviewer”, rather than you, she or he.
  • Make the life of the editor and reviewers easy, clearly indicating the line range of where this change has been made, or highlighting the changes in a different colour.

Rob Salguero-Gomez, Associate Editor, Journal of Ecology


For a full overview of the publication process and further hints and tips you can read the BES Guide to Getting Published in Ecology and Evolution.

We are also running other events for Early Career Researchers throughout the year such as Undergraduate Careers Conference, and have Research Grants and Training Grants available to apply for.