Publishing is an essential step in the information life cycle. By publishing, scholars allow readers to view, comment, and build upon their work, all of which are necessary steps to further knowledge. Publishing also increases the scholar's standing in his or her respective field which is important for funding and employment. Many accreditation bodies require that faculty remain active in their field; publishing is the most common way to show active engagement.
I'm ready to publish my work; what should I do?
When you are ready to publish your research it is important to find the right place to do so. Finding the perfect publication for your research can be a time consuming task, but it is vital in order to get your research out to the scholars and readers who will most benefit from it. There are several different factors to consider when selecting a publication for your research:
- What is the scope of the journal? Does your research fit in with the subject matter? Does the tone and length of your article match previously published articles?
- Are you submitting an article in response to a call for articles? If so, does your subject matter match the requirements in the call?
- If you are concerned about having your article cited by other scholars, do you know what the impact factor of the journal is?
- Do you want to publish your article in an open access journal or repository?
To answer some of the above questions refer to resources like:
- Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities - "The Directory assists you in selecting those journals that are most likely to publish your manuscript. The index in each Directory helps you match the characteristics of your manuscript to the topic areas the journal emphasizes, the type of review process, acceptance rate and number of internal and external reviewers."
- Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports Database - "offers a systematic, objective means to critically evaluate the world's leading journals, with quantifiable, statistical information based on citation data. By compiling articles' cited references, JCR Web helps to measure research influence and impact at the journal and category levels, and shows the relationship between citing and cited journals."
- EBSCOhost Publishing Opportunities Database - "provides the most extensive listing of opportunities for professors, post-doctorates and other students interested in presenting and publishing their research papers." Includes journal call for papers index, conference call for papers index, and special issue call for papers index.
The Library does not currently subscribe to these resources, so please check with your local public or academic library to access them.
How do I find the scope of a journal?
It is very important to learn about journals that you are interested in potentially publishing with. By researching journals early on, and finding those whose scope and subject matter match your topic well, you will have a much better chance of your article being accepted later. A simple Google search on the title of the journal will usually bring up the journal home page. From there you can read about the journal and submission guidelines. For example, the Journal of Marketing describes their scope as thus:
"Articles in Journal of Marketing concentrate on marketing needs and trends that demonstrate new techniques for solutions to marketing problems, review those trends and developments by reporting research, contribute generalizable and validated findings, and present new ideas, theories, and illustrations of marketing thought and practice."
This should give you, the author, a very clear idea of the types of articles this journal is looking for and the types of articles that are likely to be accepted for publication.
What is an impact factor?
The impact factor of a journal is one indication as to the significance and influence of the journal in its field. An impact factor ratio is arrived at by dividing the number of articles that were cited in subsequent publications by the total number of articles that were published in the journal. See this Science Gateway page for more information about impact. You can use Google to find impact factors for various subject areas. For instance, the Google search "impact factor business journals" will show results to several different websites with impact factor rankings.
Image from Sci-Bytes Newsletter http://sciencewatch.com/dr/sci/08/oct12-08_1/
In the image above you can see that a higher impact factor number means that more articles were cited from that particular journal than another. Science Watch, a Thomson Reuters publication, also contains impact factor information in the Sci-Bytes section. Use the Search feature at the top of the page to locate impact factors for your subject area. Also note the Emerging Research Fronts, Fast Moving Fronts, and Top Topics sections. Looking through this type of information can help you determine if your research is still timely.
How do I submit my article?
Each journal will have its own guidelines and requirements for article submissions. Do a Google search to locate the journal home page that interests you. Look for a section called Submission Guidelines, For Authors, or Requirements and make sure that you follow their rules when submitting your article. This may require some re-formatting of your content, and possibly changing your citation style. Your article will then most likely go through a peer review process; this process may slightly differ depending upon the publication, but click here for an outline of one journal's peer review process to better understand this type of editing.
If you are considering publishing your article in an open access journal, then make sure to check the journal website and see what kind of copyright and access restrictions the publisher puts on any published materials. Open access means that your article, and any others in the journal, are immediately available for free for anyone to read, download, or distribute. This will make your research available much faster to a much larger audience. Open access journals are still struggling to gain the same type of respect and relevance that subscription based journals have, but this is a burgeoning field with more and more publishers, universities, and scholars choosing to publish their research in this way. The Public Library of Science has a great page about open access.
My article wasn't accepted; now what?
Pay particular attention to acceptance rates and journal impact factors. The higher the journal impact factor, the lower the acceptance rate is likely to be. Review and be selective of the journals you wish to submit your work to. Paying attention to the scope of the journal and looking at previously published articles will also give you a sense of whether or not your article is appropriate for that publication. By submitting your work to a journal with a strong focus on the same subject matter as your research, rather than choosing to submit to a journal based solely on impact factor, will give you a much better chance of your article being accepted.
Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities
EBSCOhost Publishing Opportunities Database
How to find the right journal - Emerald
How to publish your journal paper - APA Online Monitor on Psychology, 2002
JournalSeek - "largest completely categorized database of freely available journal information on the internet."
On the importance of publishing research results - LibreSoft seminar PowerPoint
Open Access FAQ
Science Gateway page
Society for Scholarly Publishing
Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports Database