Focus Month Legal Pluralism

Writing and Publishing as Early Career Researchers

Source: Abi Sharma (2016)

COMMENT Lea Mwambene 12 November 2021

The motivation to publish academic work, requires discipline to ensure that the final output remains the ultimate goal. An invisible tension that often rattles or torments doctoral candidates, is publishing from their doctoral research studies as early career researchers. It is also conversely true that to some, it is an exciting opportunity that they latch on with enthusiasm. Regardless of the position that a doctoral candidate find themselves regarding the publication process, the nature of their studies is equally instructive. Where the research study is empirical in nature, the data that is collected in their doctoral studies becomes a pivotal milestone that may inform the work towards the final publication. In contrast, where the study is conceptual, the prospects of publication may be achieved faster depending on the agility of the doctoral candidate. Without prejudice to the foregoing, some factors are not in one’s control such as: the timelines of the journal, the turn around times of the reviewers, unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic contexts, among others.

The upcoming colloquium on ‘the continuous search for coherence in Africa’s plural legal systems’, organised by the Chair of African Legal Studies at the University of Bayreuth, gives participants an excellent opportunity to have this conversation on writing and publishing as early career researchers, and to share experiences on how to take the initial step to start writing, and how to deal with rejections from journal houses, how to recoup, and resubmit.

It is hoped that the participants, especially the doctoral candidates, will benefit from this knowledge-exchange, and be captivated to develop a passion, and a discipline to start publishing from their doctoral studies as early as possible.

Lea Mwambene is a Professor of Law at University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her research focuses mainly on African customary law and human rights.

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