Choosing a Publisher

Find Out Where to Publish Your Article

Journals that have already published in your specific field of research are more likely to accept further work on the topic, to continue the ongoing conversation between authors.

If you are new to publishing, and want to identify some good journals in which to publish, ask your research colleagues or your supervisor for some recommendations.

You can use  the article databases Scopus or Web of Science to identify the journals publishing on your topic. Note that this method identifies only journals indexed in these databases.

  1. Go to Scopus or Web of Science. Try both for a fuller picture.
  2. Search using keywords relevant to your specific topic. You may need to experiment with broader or narrower searches to get a good set of search results.
  3. In the left hand column of the results, you will see a limit for Source Title. The journals which have published the most articles matching your search terms appear at the top of this list.
  4. There are several ways you might use this Source Title information, such as:
    Limit your search to each journal under Source Title to see exactly what, when and which authors that journal has published on the topic.
    Find more information about each journal from the results. In Scopus click on the journal title link in each article record; in Web of Science click on an article title, then View Journal Information (this information is not available for all titles).
    Use the list as a starting point for further investigation, particularly on Journal Ranking and Impact
  5. Also in the left hand column, look at the Year. You may want to limit by this, as you will want to identify journals that are continuing to publish in this area.
  6. For a graphical view of the results, which gives further information, in Scopus click on Analyze Search Results at the top of the result list. Web of Science does not offer this feature.

Check For a Journal's Quality and Reputation

If you are considering publishing in a specific journal, carry out these two checks, unless your journal is very well-known:

  • Check the journal’s ranking to see where the journal is ranked in your field.
  • Check which article databases in your field index the journal. Either search for the journal's title in a database or in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
    Most well-regarded journals should be indexed by the standard article databases in your area of research.

Do these checks if the journal does not appear on any of the ranking lists, and particularly if it is not indexed in relevant article databases:

  • On the journal’s website, check the editorial board. Who is on it? Do you know, or know of them?  What are their credentials, their research background?
  • Check the peer review policy. Is it clear and well laid out?  Does it look robust?
  • Check who has already published in previous issues – are established authors publishing in this journal? Even new journals should have some established scholars submitting articles.
  • Check how many citations the journal’s articles have received. If articles from that journal are not cited, why would yours be any different?

Failing some of these checks may only indicate a poor quality journal or a very new one, rather than a fraudulent one.

Find Out Where to Publish Your Book

Unlike journal publishers, there are no ranking lists or evaluative analyses for book publishers. When deciding which book publisher to choose:

  • Ask your research colleagues for opinions on book publishers they have worked with or know about
  • Search Discover using keywords relevant to your research topic to identify publishers who are publishing books in your topic area. In the left hand column of your results, use the Source Types filter to limit your search to books only.

Check For a Book Publisher's Quality and Reputation

  • Ask your research colleagues if a book publisher is prestigious or reputable in your discipline
  • Consider the publisher’s history – how long has the publisher been in business?  What type of books do they publish?
  • If your work will be part of a collection of edited works, check the credentials of the editor
  • Search Discover using the publisher’s name to see if the Library owns books from that publisher in your research area. In the left hand column of your results, click the filter: Catalogue: Books, DVDs, & Journal Titles. If the Library doesn’t own books from that publisher, you might be cautious.
  • Carefully read the publisher’s contract terms. Avoid any publisher that expects you to pay to publish, or who does not sell or market your book. Do you have to sign over the copyright? What author rights do you retain? Get good advice on contracts from colleagues and others with book publishing experience

Check For Fraudulent or Predatory Journals and Publishers

Many low-quality and fraudulent (also known as ‘predatory’) journals thrive in the current publishing environment, where online journals can be created quickly and easily.

Publishing in predatory or fraudulent journals can damage your research reputation.

Look for these warning signs:

  • Spelling, grammatical and typographical errors on the publisher's website
  • Evidence of poor research quality in the journal’s articles
  • Poor copy-editing in the journal’s articles – reference lists are good places to pick this up
  • A spotty or non-existent publishing history. The journal’s website should allow you to trace volumes and publishing dates back to volume 1 in an unbroken run, or provide a full archive
  • Extremely broad scope of the journal e.g. all of the social sciences
  • The publisher is difficult to contact e.g. lack of physical addresses, unprofessional email addresses
  • Use of unsolicited email inviting submissions. Be very wary of email invitations to publish, particularly if you’re not very advanced in your career. Recent PhD graduates are often targeted by exploitative publishers.
    While theses do get published by legitimate publishers, those publishers will ensure the thesis is revised and re-edited first to a high standard.
  • Misleading claims (e.g. the editorial board has weak links to the professed country of origin of the journal). Some fraudulent journals will list reputable scholars on their editorial board without their knowledge. It is worth checking if you are suspicious. A member of an editorial board should be happy to talk about their relationship with that journal.
  • Unreliable metrics, such as an Impact Factor differing from the one given in Web of Science, or based on the journal's own calculations.

Publish Your Research Tool Kit

Journal Metrics, Ranking, and Lists

Open Access

Researcher Development

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