Friday, January 15, 2016

How to publish an article about safety or industrial hygiene

Picture this: You're an accomplished safety/industrial hygiene professional, and you've just completed a project that you think would make a great case study - and you have permission from the client to share the results of the project.

Or this: You're an undergraduate or graduate student in a safety/industrial hygiene program, and you're working on some compelling research that you'd like to share.

Or this: You're a semi-retired (because we all love to stay busy) safety/industrial hygiene professional, and you want to share the best practices you've learned with the new generation.

If this sounds like you, why not consider writing an article to share your expertise?

Now, if you're thinking, "Oh, no. I could never. I'm a terrible writer." Please allow me to disagree - you've likely written a boatload of technical reports, maybe even edited reports as a senior reviewer. You'd be writing for your peers - we want the information and knowledge, and if your writing is a little "rough around the edges," we'll be pretty forgiving. 

So, what are your options for publishing an article about safety or industrial hygiene?

If you're an academic and planning to stay in academia, you'll want to publish in peer-reviewed journals with strong impact factors. Some options:

But if you're not an academic, chances are that you'll rarely see the research articles that are included in the above-listed journals. If you're a practicing safety or industrial hygiene professional, your exposure to new research and new regulatory information probably comes from industry or trade publications, such as:

If you've read some of the articles in the trade publications listed above, you know they are usually more focused on answering questions that the practicing safety and industrial hygiene professional needs to know. These are questions like: What kind of insurance would I need to start my own consulting firm? What are some practical solutions for preventing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in construction? How do I enhance collaboration with other safety professionals I work with in a geographical region?

Industry groups such as the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) also have practice specialty groups that publish monthly or quarterly publications for members of their practice specialty. Some examples of practice specialties are: Academics, Consultants, Healthcare, Industrial Hygiene, Military, Risk Management, and many others. 

Since I am the volunteer Publications Coordinator for the ASSE Industrial Hygiene Practice Specialty (IHPS), I've learned the challenges associated with finding quality articles to support our monthly members-only publication, The Monitor. I have personally emailed dozens of people, including academics, consultants, trainers, fellow safety bloggers, you name it, asking them if they have an interest in writing an article about industrial hygiene for The Monitor

My normal spiel is shown below.

"Hello Mr/s. ___________,

I serve as the volunteer Content Coordinator for the American Society of Safety Engineers  Industrial Hygiene Practice Specialty (IHPS). I’m tasked with soliciting research/technical articles, opinion pieces, case studies, and other interesting content for our new IHPS web portal. This web portal is called “The Monitor,” which was the previous IHPS triannual electronic publication. We’ve moved to a web portal to allow more timely articles to be presented to ASSE members.

If you or one of your colleagues have an interest in publishing an article/case study to share your expertise with practicing industrial hygienists and safety professionals, please let me know. Articles of >1,500 words can qualify for recertification points from BCSP. There is a non-exclusive copyright agreement that must be submitted with each article – I would be happy to send it for review if you're interested.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

The Industrious Hygienist"

It's "meh" effective at getting responses from people. Most of the people who respond tell me that they would love to publish an article, but they're too busy right now. I usually pester them a few times to gauge if they are still interested or just being polite. 

So, to all those of you who think this sounds fun, or you're interested in publishing an article, case study, book review, or research about industrial hygiene or safety for working professionals, here's a simple way to do it. 

1) You do not have to be a member of ASSE or IHPS to publish in The Monitor.*
2) You will receive a PDF copy of your article for your files.
3) Information about IHPS is located here (get to know your audience).
4) Publication guidelines for ASSE practice specialty portals are here.
5) Submit your article using the online submission form
6) If your article fits the IHPS standards, we'll email you the non-exclusive copyright agreement, which we need to have signed before we can publish your article.

* You do not have to be a member of ASSE or IHPS, but it is encouraged! We're a fun group to work with if you're also interested in volunteering. Here's a sample of The Monitor as provided by ASSE. 

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