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Publishing Research: Book Chapters and Books

Sometimes researchers decide to publish their work in a book chapter in an edited volume, or they may decide to write a monograph or another type of book. There are advantages and disadvantages in choosing to publish in book form.
book chapters publication
Sometimes emerging researchers or graduate students may decide to publish their work through a chapter in an edited book. An edited book is a collection of articles with a unifying theme. For example, Psychology for language learning: Insights from research, theory and practice by Mercer, Ryan and Williams (2012) is a collection of articles about research in specific areas of language-learning psychology, such as motivation, self-concept and identity. There are a number of ways authors are recruited to contribute to edited volumes. For the Mercer et al. book, the prospective authors, identified as experts in particular areas of language-learning psychology, were approached by the editors directly and invited to submit chapters. Sometimes journals, such as TESOL Quarterly, put an announcement of a forthcoming title and invite authors to contribute. The best articles submitted are then chosen through peer review. An edited book may emerge from a seminar series or a conference. The best papers are chosen, and the authors are then invited to write chapters on the basis of their presentations. Another
way is for a group of colleagues within the same department to decide to write a collection of papers. New authors find it a good thing to publish with a senior colleague who can mentor the new researcher through the process of writing for publication. A good-quality edited book is often read by more people than a journal article because it can be adopted as textbooks on graduate courses so that research can reach a wider audience. The acceptance rate for publishing book chapters tends to be much higher than for journal articles. While publishing a book chapter may seem a good option, authors need to be aware that there can be some pitfalls in choosing to publish their research in edited books. The most important issue is that book chapters are generally less prestigious than journal articles, and by writing a book chapter it may then not be possible to publish a journal article. 

Table outlines the major advantages and disadvantages of choosing to publish a book chapter in comparison to a journal article.
Advantages and disadvantages of publishing research in a book chapter 

Advantages of writing a book chapter 

Disadvantages of writing a book chapter 

It is easier to get a book chapter published. In solicited book chapters outright rejections are rare. 
It can take a very long time to get from the initial book proposal to final publication. The review process is less rigorous (this means there is usually no need for major revisions such as rerunning the analysis). The review process is often less rigorous, so flaws in the chapter may not be spotted. There is often no competition for book chapters. Individuals may be often approached to contribute chapters. A book chapter is usually not as highly valued in the academic community as a journal article. A book chapter raises the profile of the author and may result in future opportunities. A researcher’s publication list with too many book chapters in preference to journal articles might raise suspicion regarding the quality of the research. The readership of a good edited book is much wider than other academic texts. By publishing a book chapter, it will then be impossible to publish the same piece of research in a journal.
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