The short answer is that there are multiple reasons and motivations which lie behind why you may wish to formally publish your research. Reasons may include:
* Wishing to promote research findings with your academic peers
* Boosting your academic research profile which may assist career prospects
* Gaining an insight into how the academic publication process works and benefiting from the feedback of experts in your field
Before submitting your work for publication it is worth asking the 'Why' question to understand your motivations for wanting to get published, as this may impact on some of the decisions you make during the process, such as around where to submit your work for publication depending on the audience you wish to read your work.
The most common reason for papers getting rejected is because they are deemed to be outside the scope of the academic focus of the journal which it has been submitted to. So submitting to an appropriate journal for your area of research is an essential pre-requisite to getting published.
Broadly speaking, you have the option of publishing in a subscription journal which places the final publication (also known as the Version of Record) behind a paywall or publishing so that the final publication is freely available to access online.
If publishing in a subscription journal, you can provide wider access to your work by archiving your accepted manuscript into Pure. This is known as Green Open Access. This will then allow you to share your work more widely and to comply with Open Access mandates such as Coventry University's own institutional policy and the Open Access policy related to the next REF (Research Excellence Framework).
Coventry University's institutional Open Access policy, which first came into effect in August 2015, does cover Coventry University students who publish during their studies. For more information on this please see the Open Access section of this libguide.
Fully Open Access journals on the other hand don't charge readers subscription fees and instead make their works openly available online. The collective term for this model of Open Access is Gold Open Access. Some Open Access journals charge authors to publish with them via what are known as Article Processing Charges (APCs) to fund their business model. Others don't charge authors and derive their funding from other sources, or are not for profit - journals fitting this description may be called 'Diamond' or 'Platinum' Open Access publications.
The abstract and citation database Scopus can provide a useful sense of the journals operating within a variety of academic disciplines. Full access will be provided via your University login credentials.
Scopus employs selective criteria in terms of the content which it indexes which is outlined online.
To search Scopus for journals once you are logged in select 'Sources' from the top right hand bar. To then filter by subject area go to the search bar at the top of the screen.
Search results will by default display based on their citation scores. The onus which you may wish to place on citation ratings and impact factor depends on your motivations for publishing in the first place. While citation ratings and impact factor can help indicate how influential a journal is within your field there are caveats which ought to be attached to how this data is interpreted. More recently established journals for instance are disadvantaged by the system as they need to have been in operation for several years before having an impact factor assigned to them. For more on this topic please see the 'Bibliometrics tab' on this libguide and the detail on Impact Factors below.
Please note that Scopus's coverage is limited in some areas such as the Arts and Humanities and so will be of less benefit to scholars in these fields when considering publication venues.
Do be aware that there are some publishers who misrepresent themselves and are characterised as 'predatory'. For more information on how predatory publishers operate and what you can do to protect against submitting to one please see the 'Other Information' tab. A useful website to visit for this purpose, and to help find a reputable journal more generally, is Think Check Submit.
Most 'predatory publications' tend to operate as Open Access Journals charging authors fees to publish with them. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides a useful port of call to help identify reputable Open Access publications.
Submitting to multiple journals at the same time is viewed as poor academic conduct and may lead to some journals declining to consider future publications from you if found out.
If the first journal you submit to declines to take forward your article for publication, you are then free to submit the paper elsewhere.
Broadly speaking there are three different methods of conducting peer review:
* Single blind, where the identity of the author(s) is known to the reviewer, but not vice-versa
* Double blind, where the author and reviewer and both anonymous to one another
* Open peer review, where the identity of all parties are known to one another. Under open peer review the reviewer's comments and earlier versions of the manuscript are also often made available so the whole process is more transparent.
There is more information on how peer review works under Step Three.
Journal Impact Factors provide an indication of how frequently cited papers in a particular journal are. The Journal Impact Factor was originally devised by librarians to help them make journal purchasing decisions, but over time became construed as an indication of a journal's quality. Equating a journal's Impact Factor with the quality of the papers it produces is now considered a contentious thing to do, and there has been pushback against doing this, including from leading Research funders who make up Coalition-S who state they will not consider the Impact Factors of journal's previously published in when evaluating research funding applications. This is stated in point 10 of the Coalition S / Plan S guidelines.
A Journal Impact Factor can help identify which journals are being widely read and having their content re-used within an academic discipline, but the emphasis an author wishes to place on this when choosing a venue of publication depends on their motive for publishing.
In many academic disciplines collaboration is common place and as a result academic publications will have multiple authors credited to them. It is common for works authored by a PhD student to include their academic supervisor(s) and others working within their research group. Often the input of a supervisor or more experienced academic as a co-author can provide useful support in the writing of a paper for authors less experienced with the process.
Controversy can sometimes arise around what constitutes an 'author' on an academic paper and charges of 'undeserved authorship' do occasionally get made. Sometimes authors may be added to papers because of the academic weight they carry even if they have done little to inform the research behind the publication, in other cases authors can even be inserted without their knowledge or consent. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors identifies four areas of contribution which would merit an authorship credit which can provide a useful frame of reference in this area.
The Centre for Academic Writing at Coventry University can provide a range of support from one to one tutorials to in depth accredited academic modules which are designed to help improve participants academic writing skills.
It is common for PhD authors to seek to adapt parts of their PhD thesis wth a view to publishing either a journal article or full length monograph. As authors of PhD theses typically maintain copyright over the work, unless a contractual agreement with a commercial sponsor or similar overrides this, they are free to seek to publish this research elsewhere.
It is worth noting that while most publishers do not regard a PhD thesis as a prior publication, some may take a different approach. The scholarly communication librarian community have put together a spreadsheet which helps identify publishers (predominantly journal publishers) and what their policies are towards considering thesis material for publication.
If your paper passes the initial editorial check, whereby the journal editors assess that it meets the scope of the journal you have submitted to, then it will be passed on for peer review. Typically two peer reviewers will be appointed; some journals invite the authors of the paper to suggest appropriate figures in their field who would be able to act as a peer reviewer, others appoint reviewers independently.
Peer reviewers are generally unpaid for the work they perform and fit in peer review alongside their day job(s), therefore turnaround times can take several weeks or months and depend upon their other time commitments. Journals offering unusually quick turnaround times may fall into the category of 'predatory publishers' and should be viewed with some caution.
The different models of peer review (single blind, open etc.) are laid out in Step One.
It is to be expected that the reviewers will provide a range of feedback to the article submitted. This may range from minor points (e.g. suggestions around presentation and layout), to more substantive points such as critiquing the research methodology employed and conclusions drawn.
In responding to peer review comments it's usual practice to submit a response to reviewers letter alongside the revised manuscript. In this letter it's important to respond to each comment or query raised by reviewers, no matter how minor, and explain how you have addressed the point raised. If you disagree with a point raised by a reviewer be polite in your response and indicate why you have felt unable to implement a particular change which has been suggested.
A useful and easily digestible article providing 10 'rules' on how to respond to reviewers feedback was published by Plos One in 2017 - Noble WS (2017) Ten simple rules for writing a response to reviewers. PLoS Comput Biol 13(10): e1005730.
First of all don't panic! The acceptance rate for many journals is well below 50% meaning more articles are rejected for publication than are accepted. A rejection isn't always indicative of the quality of the work, and may simply be a reflection that the academic focus of the article falls outside the scope of the journal it has been submitted to.
If your paper is declined publication in one journal then you have the option of re-submitting it elsewhere for consideration. Hopefully the reviewer feedback you will have received will be constructive in nature and allow you to formulate a stronger submission second time around.
Congratulations - if you've got this far the likelihood is your article has been officially accepted for publication!
It's at this stage that the legal contractual part of the publication process can kick in.
Most publishers will ask authors to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA), assigning copyright from the author(s), in whom it resides by default, to the publisher. It is worth reading through the details of a CTA as they will typically detail those rights retained by the author; which may include the right to re-use the paper in any teaching activities, to share the paper with colleagues and other individuals, the right to archive the submitted / accepted manuscript on pre-print and institutional / subject repository systems etc.
Authors may request changes to the terms of the Agreement which they sign, however publishers may not always accept such changes. An alternative agreement template has been developed by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) in the form of their Author Addendum. This is designed to permit the author to retain additional rights beyond the standard terms of a more restrictive Copyright Transfer Agreement.
Do be aware that while it is common for academics to share publications via Academic Social Networking sites such as Research Gate, that posting the final publication is likely to violate the terms of many standard Copyright Transfer Agreements and authors may find themselves in breach of the publisher's copyright.
If an article has been published in a subscription access journal then we would strongly advocate retaining the version of the article from point of acceptance (this document should reflect changes resulting from peer review but typically will not have been subject to publisher branding or formatting) and archiving this in an institutional repository, in the case of Coventry University this is our Pure system.
By archiving your work in this way at the point of acceptance you will help ensure compliance with Open Access requirements such as those in operation for the REF and at an institutional level. Both the REF and Coventry University policies require the accepted manuscript to be archived within 3 months of acceptance.
Some publishers will permit the accepted manuscript to become available to coincide with publication, others implement an embargo period prior to the document's release. The Research and Scholarly Publications team at Coventry University help check publisher policies and implement them on the Pure system.
Please see the Open Access tab for more information on this topic.
Upon getting your work published the next stage is to promote it in order that prospective readers are made aware of it
For possible services and outlets to consider making use of in this area, please see the 'tools and resources' for researchers tab within this libguide.
By being able to provide Open Access to your research (please see Green Open Access and self-archiving section under Step Four) you will be able to tap into a far larger potential audience than if your research is only restricted to those with subscription access to the publication in question. Depending on your academic discipline this may allow practitioners in your field access and widen access to members of the general public and researchers in the 'Global South' who may not enjoy extensive access to subscription only academic content.
Even if you have not published in a fully Open Access publication in most cases you will still be able to provide access by the green route to Open Access by archiving the accepted manuscript, this may require an embargo period before the article version can be released however.
There are many social media platforms which authors can use to promote and advertise their publications. Some are specific to academia (e.g. Mendeley, Research Gate) and others are more general (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook). It is common for authors to use platforms like Twitter to promote their research and develop communities around topics of interest.
Different social media platforms offer different audiences and different levels of formality. If using a Facebook or Twitter account consider whether you wish to separate out your professional and personal profiles .
Further reading on how academics can utilise social media effectively is available through our library holdings and subscriptions. Works covering this topic include:
* Carrigan, Mark. Social Media for Academics. 2016.
* Neal, Diane Rasmussen. Social Media for Academics : A Practical Guide. 2012
The conversation around a publication continues long after it first appears online or in print. There are various services which measure the citations and other types of interaction which a publication receives.
Services providing citation and associated data include:
Monitoring citations can provide useful information on other researchers operating within your field and provide opportunities for collaboration.
Do be aware that citation data may vary between different providers depending on the logic they employ. Google Scholar citation figures for instance will typically be higher than Scopus citations due to the fact Scopus only includes citations deriving from other peer reviewed publications, whereas Google Scholar will include a wider range of material.
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