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Research Impact: Where to publish

Making an impact and measuring the impact of your research

Choosing a publication

           Choice of publication may be influenced by many things such as personal invitation or recommendation, the discipline and the purpose of the article but the most common factors are the reputation of the journal and the visibility it will afford your article. Your funder may also have their own requirements about where you publish.
You can choose between a traditional publishing model and the newer, open access models.
photo c. Smithsonian Library

Traditional academic journals

Selecting a journal in which to publish is complex. Journal impact factors may give a quantitative measure of the relative importance of a journal within your discipline, but you also need to think about other factors, such as themed issues, links to conferences and many more.

Your Library Subject Guide will direct you to the most appropriate databases and journals in your subject area.

Tools for selecting relevant journals

There are a number of different tools which you can use to give you some idea of where to publish.  However, please bear in mind that these pieces of software are recommender systems, i.e., they are set up to use a range of different methods such as text analysis to try and give you the 'best' result.  A few of these are 'beta' systems, which means they could still be in development.  There are anomalies and sometimes you can see some 'strange' suggestions, therefore you should not rely solely on these when making a decision about where to publish.

Fraudulent, predatory or vanity publishers

You may be approached by publishers who encourage you to publish your thesis or to pay a fee to have your work published. Although most publishers are legitimate, be aware that not all such approaches are honest; a fraudulent publisher will not provide the editorial and publishing expertise of a legitimate journal and publishing in a less credible journal can harm the reputation of a less well established researcher. Predatory publishers can be aggressive and persuasive and their journal titles often mimic more established, reputable titles, so it can be difficult to identify them initially. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you heard of the journal before? Perhaps the title is very similar to a well known journal, check the details. 
  • Try looking the journal up in your favourite bibliographic database (Scopus, Web of Science etc), is it indexed there?
  • Check to see if the journal is listed in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
  • Has the publisher approached you directly, do they seem to be very persistent and/or aggressive? 
  • Have they suggested your article will be published very quickly? 
  • Is there a clear process which explains costs before you submit your work? 
  • What evidence is there of a peer review process? 
  • Check the editorial board credentials. Do they work at reputable organisations? Do the editors really exist? Do they have a publication profile? 
  • Look at the journal website – where is it located? 
  • What is the quality of existing articles in the journal? 
  • If they are quoting an impact factor, can you verify this in the Journal Citation Reports database? 

Think, Check, Submit

Arts and Humanities

The world of journal ranking, impact factor and citation metrics is not well-developed in arts and humanities disciplines. This is mainly due to differing trends and practices in research and scholarly communication in the humanities compared with other subject areas (such as the much greater importance of monographs over journals, and lower citation rates).

The European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) is an attempt to produce a database of significant journals in the humanities. However, ERIH has proved controversial – see articles here and here, for example.

You can read more about metrics and research assessment in the arts and humanities on the British Academy web site.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, gave some brief views on metrics and the humanities in an interview in 2009.

Open Access Journals

Open Access is about making research outputs freely available with no barriers such as payment or passwords.
This blog post lists OA journals with impact factors

You'll find lots of detailed information about Open Access Journals and how to publish in them in the separate Open Access Library Guide

Find out about support and funding at Newcastle on our OA website

For further guidance on RCUK and Wellcome funded research publications and compliance with OA policies, consult SHERPA/FACT, the Funders and Authors Compliance Tool.

The Open Access Citation Advantage project kept up to date a list of studies on whether or not there is a citation advantage for Open Access articles. That project has now completed and the list is no longer being managed. SPARC Europe is now maintaining the list and has brought it up to date.

Starting an open access journal

Thinking of setting up your own open access academic journal? Here are a few links to help you.

Blogs and Wikis

As well as writing about about your research in an academic journal, you can write about it more informally by starting a blog or a wiki, or even by tweeting about it. Blogs are becoming an increasingly popular way of sharing and communicating information. Usually written in a diary or journal format, many blogs allow readers to set up RSS feeds to be alerted to new information. Using social media for serious academic work may initially seem trivial, but a blog is an excellent way of building up a network of contacts around the world and of publicising your research activity, so that when you do publish an article, all your blog readers will be an instant readership!

Many academic blogs are being written now – find out about them by using the following tools.

Staff and students at Newcastle University may set up their own blog: Blogs at Newcastle 

Interesting in blogging? 

These posts provide advice for those looking to get more involved in the practice and also delve further into the pros and cons of investing time and energy into academic blogging.

Identifying journals in which to publish

There are lists of journals which might help you to identify key titles:

The Australian ERA journals list 2012 listed journals eligible for submission to the Excellence in Research In Australia programme but it is no longer current. A historical link to the ERA 2012 list is available here

European Reference Index for the Humanities provides lists of journals (see box below)