Peer-to-Peer is a series of brief interviews in which successfully published authors share their research and publication experience for the benefit of postgraduate students and early career academics. The series is not supposed to be a comprehensive guide, but rather offers a glimpse into how these individuals manage this tricky process.
We hope you enjoyed the valuable tips from our first interview with Dr Vera Lúcia Raposo. We are now very honoured to have Professor Haiyan Song from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University share his advice.
Q: Competition for research grants can be intense. Is there anything particular you can pinpoint that has made a difference to your success in securing funding? For example, are there any funds available outside the main government schemes? Do you focus on a particular aspect of the application?
A: It is important to have a topic that is relevant, and the proposed methodology must be robust. These are the two most important factors that determine the success of any proposal. Demonstrating a continuous track record in a particular research area in the proposal, tourism forecasting in my case, is helpful as this gives assurance to the reviewers and the funding agency that you are a safe bet.
Q: Most academics want to spend their time doing actual research, but often get little chance to because they have to deal with the demands of teaching and admin as well. Do you have any tips for juggling the different demands to make time for research?
A: Time management is the key. My administrative and teaching responsibilities are very heavy, but I still set aside time every week for research. This needs considerable planning.
Q: Do you seek to communicate your research findings to non-experts? If so, do you integrate this into your academia-oriented publications, or do you use other channels for informing the public (media, government, etc.)?
A: Yes, I do try to put my research into practice through consultancies and collaborative research. I have been engaged in generating accurate forecasts for tourism demand for a number of destinations within the Asia Pacific using the models that I have developed in research. These forecasts have helped destinations in formulating relevant tourism policies.
Q: Some academics find it hard to identify the right target journal to submit to, a problem exacerbated by the number of predatory journals out there, which can sometimes be difficult to spot. Do you have any advice on how to go about this process?
A: The best way is to seek advice from your senior colleagues about which journal to submit your study to. Most schools and departments have a list of recognized journals for staff development purposes. If your school or department has one, follow this list.
Q: Sometimes the review process can be really tricky to navigate as reviewers might ask for new data to be collected, new analyses to be run etc., and several different reviewers can come up with conflicting demands. Can you shed any light on how you manage this process, especially when grant funding can have run out by this point, so time or resources to do the additional work required are limited?
A: If the reviewers’ suggestions are relevant and useful, it is important to revise your article based on their recommendations, which certainly will improve the quality of your manuscript. If, however, the reviewers’ comments are unreasonable, you need to respond to their comments politely saying why you could not make the amendments based on their suggestions (such as, you cannot collect new data due to funding constraints, and put that as a future research direction).
Q: The whole publication process can be time-consuming and involve lengthy delays from submission to publication. This is obviously a problem because in the intervening time, other studies can get published that might make research less relevant or even out of date. Is this a big issue in your field, and do you have any comment or opinion on the current process?
A: Yes, the publication cycle being too long can be an issue, so selecting where to publish your study is very important. Some journal editors push for a quick turnaround of manuscript reviews, and you should go for these journals if timing is an issue. In addition, if you want to publish your research in a timely manner to generate early impact, you may also consider submitting your main findings as a research note, which normally benefits from a shorter review process. Many top journals have a research note section.
Professor Haiyan Song is Associate Dean, Chair Professor and Mr and Mrs Chan Chak Fu Professor in International Tourism at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The areas of his research expertise include Tourism Demand Modelling and Forecasting, Tourism Impact Assessment, Tourism Satellite Account, Chinese Economy under Transition and Wine Economics.
More details and his extensive publication record can be found here.
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