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Find a reputable publisher and journal
Finding the best place for your journal article can be difficult. It is always best to do your homework and compare journals to make sure that you are submitting your precious manuscript to a reputable journal
Before you submit, take time to make some basic checks
Once you've chosen the best place for your manuscript, make sure you take the time to do some basic checks on the quality and reputation of the journal and publisher. A reputable publisher/journal will offer a smooth submission system, clear charges, rigorous peer review and good production values. They will also help to make your outputs discoverable by other readers by including them in bibliographic databases.
Are you familiar with the journal?
- Have you read or cited any of the articles in this journal?
- Have friends, colleagues or other authors in your field published in the journal?
- Do your colleagues read or cite publications in the journal
- Do you recognise any members of the editorial board? Are they well known in your field? Are you sure they are really associated with the journal? (check out their personal websites/CVs to confirm)
- Is it easy to find details of the journal online including contact information for the editorial team?
- There are low quality journals that sometimes add the word 'International' to their journal name so that it attracts authors who have to publish in an international journal. Check out the journal scope and content carefully before you submit.
Journal scope, peer review processes and copyright policies
- Is the subject scope of the journal clearly described on the website? Is it very broad or an odd mixture of topics?
- Does the journal have an online manuscript system? Most modern journals have a submission system and don't rely on authors sending in manuscripts by email
- Is it clear what kind of peer review process the journal uses? This should be included in the 'about' section of the journal's website
- Does the journal provide information on how long peer review usually takes and what the average time from submission to acceptance is? (be suspicious of promises of very quick peer review!)
- What type of copyright model does the journal use? Are you able to retain copyright? Can you opt for a Creative Commons license for your work (possibly for a fee)?
Journal quality checks
- Does the journal publish new content regularly? Is the publication schedule clear?
- Will your article be issued with a digital object identifier (DOI)? - having a DOI makes it much easier for readers to discover to cite your work. It also means you'll be able to track Altmetric attention and citations easily. Be wary about submitting to online journals that won't provide a DOI.
- Is the journal indexed by other abstracting and indexing services such as Scopus, ISI Web of Science, CAB Abstracts, PubMed, PubMed Central, Chemical Abstracts or AGRICOLA? Many of these services require certain standards from publishers/journals before they include them in their services. Inclusion in these databases will make your article/output much easier for others to find.
Are you familiar with the publisher?
- Is it clear from the journal's website who publishes the journal?
- Are there clear contact details on how you could get in touch by 'phone, email or post?
Is the publisher a member of recognised industry organisations?
Most reputable publishers will belong to initiatives and organisations related to publishing ethics and standards - here are a few to look out for
- COPE - Committee on Publication Ethics. Check that your chosen publisher is a member: https://publicationethics.org/members
- CLOCKSS and LOCKSS - not for profit ventures that ensure that journal content won't be lost if the publisher disappears or is affected by catastrophic outage
- ORCID - many publishers are members of ORCID, an organisation that provides unique identifiers for researchers
- Crossref - a not-for-profit organisation that helps to make scholarly content easy to find, cite and link
If the journal is a fully open access (OA) journal, also check for these specialist organisations:
If you are publishing in an open access journal, you will probably have to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) but subscription journals may also impose page charges
- Is there a charge to submit or a handling charge?
- Is it clear what the total cost of publishing with the journal will be? Is it reasonable?
- What are the charges for? Are there page charges as well as an Article Processing Charge for making the article open access?
- When and how do any charges have to be paid? APCs are usually requested after acceptance of your article and not before
If you are a researcher at University of Reading, you can find out how to apply for funding for publishing your work as open access on the Library's open access pages