This guide collects guidance for authors and research project managers looking a developing a publication plan, and identifying where to publish research outputs (primarily journal articles). It includes guidance around;
"Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications."
Think. Check. Submit. (https://thinkchecksubmit.org/)
If you are a new researcher, or are researching in a new or unfamiliar area, then the guidance below may be helpful in choosing where to publish.
All academic authors should be aware that there are a large volume of fraudulent or predatory publishers who will encourage you to publish your research (for example you thesis) with them, often for a fee. Although many publishers are legitimate and well respected, and may charge either for open access publication, or levy page or colour figure charges as part of their business model, not all such approaches are honest or genuine.
Fraudulent or predatory publishers may not provide the same level of editorial or publishing expertise that you might expect, and there is no guarantee that your work will remain available to readers in the future. Some predatory publishers offer a range of titles, with often professional looking websites and using names similar to existing, well established and respected journals.
If you are contacted by a journal, you should always exercise some due diligence before agreeing to publish with them:
If your publication is reporting research conducted under a funding agreement, it is essential that you are aware of the requirements of the funder and what policies they have with respect of the resulting outputs of that research.
These requirements may apply to awards for a specific research project, salary support provided by a funding body (eg the Wellcome Trust) or a doctoral training award (eg RCUK). It is essential you are aware what publishing commitments you have agreed to as part of a funding agreement you have signed or are party to before deciding what and where to publish. Be aware that some funders already impose penalties for failing to comply with their publication policies, such as withholding payment of an award or consequences for future grant applications.
As a leading research institution, Durham recognises the value of its world class research and is committed to sharing its knowledge and expertise as widely as possible in order to enhance its use and impact.
As a researcher and an author, you may wish to consider which options are offered by journals or publishers you would like to publish with, and if:
See our open access web pages for more information.
Are you hoping your publication may be submitted to the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise? If so, there are two key things you should consider:
See also our guidance on publication planning (on this guide) for considerations.
Responsible Metrics: See our Responsible Metrics and Overview of Research indicator pages for more information:
- DORA: "assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published"
- Leiden Manifesto: "The impact factor is calculated for journals indexed in the US-based and still mostly English-language Web of Science. These biases are particularly problematic in the social sciences and humanities, in which research is more regionally and nationally engaged."
- The Metric Tide: "placing too much emphasis on narrow, poorly-designed indicators – such as journal impact factors (JIFs) – can have negative consequences"
- Durham University Statement on Responsible Metrics: "We will guard against false precision, for example reliance solely on journal / publisher rankings or single metrics."
Are any journal level metrics considered important in your field of study? Does your department indicate any expectations as to particular "high impact" or "high prestige" journals? Is publication in any particular journal considered important for your career progression? It is also worth considering if your research (or similar research) is attracting interest outside of you traditional field of study?
There are several ranking systems for journals, including:
If you are not sure what the metrics used in the above ranking systems mean, how they are calculated or how they are or should be used, see our guide on research indicators, which includes guidance on journal level metrics.
It is also worth considering if your research (or similar research) is attracting interest outside of you traditional field of study. One way of doing this is by identifying who is citing similar work and where these citing articles are being published. There are various tools available which might be of interest may also be of interest in seeing "citation flows" - where citations between specific subject areas are developing.
The type of book or monograph publication will affect how you decide with whom to publish, and the process of publishing itself. The following guidance is just an outline on some points to consider and some further guidance available.
Your first step is to create a short list of publishers to whom you could submit a proposal for publication. There are various ways you could do this.
It is also worth seeing which publishers appear most eager to solicit new material. Have a look at publisher's websites, or speak to publishers exhibiting at conferences. Identify which publishers make it easy for authors to get in touch and are clear of the format they require for a submission (of course, it is also perfectly valid to question why a publisher seems so keen to publish your new material).
The points below are some questions to consider in narrowing down your shortlist. Not all will be relevant in all situations.
Web of Science is a multidisciplinary citation database, with several tools which can be useful for identifying journals for potential publication.
Whilst this video is not specifically about identifying journals for publication, you can use the 'Analyse Results' function demonstrated to identify which journals have published the most on a given topic recently.
The Global Academic Publisher Elsevier provides several tools which can be of use to identify suitable journals for publication.
Elsevier Journal Finder allows you to upload a manuscript abstract and title, and it will try to match this to relevant journals which may have published similar research.
It is worth noting that:
You can access Elsevier Journal Finder here.
Similar to Web of Science, if you use Scopus to search for documents matching certain keywords, you can use the services Analyze search results option to explore which authors are most proliferate in publishing in that field, and in which journals most articles are published in. Scopus is not limited to Elsevier-owned journals, and indexes over 19,000 journals, so can be a useful way to identify relevant journals if you are careful with your keyword selection.
For help with your search strategy construction, see our (Re) Search Skills guide here.
SpringerNature's Journal Suggester allows you to upload a manuscript abstract and title, and it will try to match this to relevant journals which may have published similar research.
Note that this tool will only search and match a manuscript to Springer and BMC Journals.
This free tool was created by researchers from the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI), aimed primarily at those publishing in medicine, health, biosciences and related journals. It uses data from journals which have had articles published in PubMed over the previous year, matched against a title and/or abstract you can provide them, to identify potential journals for publication (or potential co-authors to collaborate with if in the early stages of a manuscript).
It provides a freely available API for those who wish to integrate it into their own systems.
JSTOR Labs provides access to a Text Analyzer tool (currently in Beta), which allows you to upload a document and it will find similar or related article and books. Whilst primarily targeted as a tool to identify other articles as part of a literature search, this may be helpful to also identify where these have been published, to identify potential journals or publishers for your work.
Sherpa Romeo, and other funder specific services, can be useful to identify the open access options available with journals you have identified.
The video below provides a brief overview of Sherpa: ROMEO.
This section provides guidance for new early career researchers, and those who supervise or mentor them, on thinking about how to plan for what publications may result from a research project.
You can save, share or print this guidance off as a pdf file using the link below.
It may seem obvious that publishing the results of academic research is a key expectation upon researchers, but the reasons for publishing your research may also impact upon any publication strategy or planning.
There are many reasons why having a publication plan is useful to you as a researcher and author.
A clearly articulated publication plan can:
You should consult with your department as to any guidance provided, or expectations on formulating a publication strategy. This will help:
As a basic guide, a publication strategy should cover multiple planned objectives, over several years (e.g. to cover all intended research outputs which might contribute to the next REF submission).
Some of the resources below may be useful in helping you formulate and record your publication strategy.
Those in supervisory or mentoring roles may find the summaries below useful in identifying what their supervisees and mentees might expect of them:
Once you have had a publication accepted for publication, you may also want to make sure you have planned for how best to disseminate that research to as broad (and as appropriate) audience as possible.
Check out our post-acceptance checklist for some suggestions of activities you may wish to build in to your publication planning.
If you are new to academic publishing, the process of peer review and what you might want to expect may be a source of some anxiety. As with many aspects of academic life, talking over concerns or asking for advice form a supervisor or colleagues might be your first port of call.
If this is not convenient, or if you need further guidance, we hope that some of the information here may be of interest.
Peer review encompasses a range of approaches where research is evaluated and its quality checked both before and after it is funded or published. In the case of publications, it involves submitted papers and other publications being subjected to a critical evaluation by independent experts (the author's peers), usually but not always prior to publication.
If you are new to publishing your research or interested in learning more about peer review you may be interested in some of the links below:
In recent years, new approaches to academic publishing have included a move in some journals to either fully open peer review, or publication of (sometimes anonymous) peer review comments post publication.
These can be useful both in evaluating research output, but also for early career researchers to gain an insight of the variation in peer review comments they may themselves receive, or examples of how to provide a good (or not so good) peer review service themselves.