Understand the different stages in the scholarly publishing process, including:

  • writing and formatting in the preferred style of the publisher or journal
  • understanding author responsibilities
  • submitting your article and what happens in editorial review
  • peer review and peer review training opportunities
  • avoiding unethical publishers.

2. The writing process

What to publish

Check the scope and focus of the journal you want to publish in to avoid a "desk rejection". The scope and focus can usually be found in the Instructions for authors or About this journal sections.

There are a range of article types that you can write:

Literature reviews provide an overview of the published work in a particular field. A literature review can be part of a larger study or may stand alone as a research effort in its own right. See our Literature review guide.

Research articles describe and analyse data from a research project and are used in social science, humanities, and science disciplines. They can be written at various stages in the research process, providing you have appropriate data to comment upon.

Empirical studies describe the results of an experiment or controlled study.

case analysis presents the significant details of a practical situation and discusses its challenges, outcomes and implications. This type of article may be produced in medical/clinical practice, business and law.

Book reviews present a critique of a recently published book. The book review author should seek to evaluate, as well as provide an opinion and insight into the content.

Systematic reviews summarise research evidence that addresses a particular question. A systematic review should identify all relevant published and unpublished evidence and interpret and assess the quality of each study. Systematic reviews are often used in the medical disciplines. See our Systematic review guide.

Theoretical analyses are used in the humanities, social sciences and business management. This type of article reviews and advances theory by tracing the development of a theory and then proposing a new theory, criticising errors in the old theory or suggesting that one theory is better than another.

Response articles respond to a previously published article, providing a critical evaluation of the research presented in one paper. Response articles may confirm, contradict or expand upon an author's argument.

Academic writing resources

English help

There are many resources to help with professional editing of research papers, reports, book chapters or PhD theses, if English is not your first language. The UQ Union has a list of recommended proofreaders. Your postgraduate coordinator or supervisor may also know of proofreaders who have previously edited scholarly work in your field, who may be able to help.

Many of the major journal websites include links to paid services.

Formatting publications for submission

Instructions for authors

Journals expect material to be submitted according to their preferred style. These can vary greatly from publisher to publisher. This information is usually included in the Instructions for Authors on publisher websites. See examples on these journal sites:

For Biosciences see Recommendations for the conduct, reporting, editing and publication of scholarly work in medical journals (ICMJE Recommendations).

Writing and formatting

Writing software and tools are available to help you work collaboratively and format your manuscript.

Overleaf is a web-based collaborative writing tool, available to UQ staff and students, that has templates for several journals that automatically formats your manuscript in the required style.


Check the journal's Instructions for Authors to determine the publications preferred referencing style. The Library has guides on the different referencing styles used at UQ.

Referencing software

You can use EndNote or other referencing software to produce references formatted in the correct style. Referencing software can produce the same references in many different styles.

EndNote referencing software is available for download by UQ staff and students. The Library also offers:

Article length

Journals set their own requirements for article length. This information can usuaully be found in the Instructions for Authors. For example, the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology presents the following guidelines:

  • Reviews and original articles — 3,000 to 5,000 words
  • Letters — 500 words
  • Brief reports — 1,500 words
  • Commentaries — 2,500 words.

Literature searching