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The Publication Cycle: Guide to Library Support

From creating new journals to building your bibliography to archiving your publications, the UT Libraries offer a host of tools and services to help researchers throughout the publication and research cycle.

Evaluating Publishers & Publications

Not all publishers are the same.  Whether traditional subscription, open access, hybrid, or monographic, it's important to evaluate a publisher before agreeing to publish anything with them.
All authors, editors, and reviewers should be familiar with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics: Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.  Being an informed author is important for your own publication record, and for the records of those you mentor or influence.

What Should You Look For?

Not Sure of the Journal or Publisher?

Use the Think-Check-Submit checklist. Review it before submitting work or agreeing to serve as a reviewer. A few minutes can save your research reputation! (Considering an open access journal? Check our guide first!)

A few important questions from the Think-Check-Submit checklist are below.


For Journals:

  • Are the journal’s articles indexed in services that you use (e.g., Web of Science, PubMed, PsycInfo, MLA)? If not, the articles published in that journal do not reach most readers. (When checking these services by journal title, be sure you are spelling the journal title exactly as it appears in the solicitation or website.)
  • Who is on the editorial board?  Are the editors clearly identified?  Are their email addresses and/or phone numbers provided directly on the publisher's site?
  • Can you confirm that the editors really are serving in that role?  Do the editors have this position listed on their online CV?  Can you confirm with the editor-in-chief via email?
  • What is the acceptance rate of the journal? (Note: Some legitimate megajournals, such as PLOS ONE, accept any methodologically sound study that passes the scrutiny of peer-reviewers.  This is a new model that attempts to share good research regardless of trends in popularity or research interests, but megajournals should be closely evaluated for quality leadership, editors, reviewers, etc.  Not all megajournals are of the same quality.)
  • What is the impact factor of the journal?  (Keep in mind that impact factors can be manipulated and are increasingly seen as an inaccurate measure of quality that help large publishers and hurt small, but legitimate, operations.  Furthermore, new journals are likely to have a lower impact factor than more established titles.)  Regardless of whether an impact factor is provided on the publisher's site or not, use the Libraries' subscription to Journal Citation Reports to either verify the impact factor or look for it.
  • Who founded the journal?  Who owns it/runs it now?  Do they have an academic background?
  • Can you retain your copyright, or any subset of copyrights you want to keep, to your work?  For example, can you use the publication in presentations, in course readers, in future publications if revised and expanded?  Can you add it to your own site, or archive a copy in an online archive/repository?
  • Are there clear guidelines for authors, including when and if fees to authors may be assessed?  Legitimate publishers will be upfront with their publication practices.  For authors, there should be no surprises or uncertainty about a publisher's procedures.

For Monographs:

  • Who is on the editorial board?  Are the editors clearly identified?  Are their email addresses and/or phone numbers provided directly on the publisher's site?
  • Is there an editor for your specific subject area?  A good example for comparative purposes is the University of Chicago Press and their list of editorial staff.
  • Can you confirm that the editor really is serving in that role?  Does the editor have this position listed on their online CV?  Can you confirm with the editor via email?
  • Who founded the publishing house?  Who owns it/runs it now?  Do they have an academic background?
  • Are there clear guidelines for authors?  Legitimate publishers will be upfront with their publication practices.  For authors, there should be no surprises or uncertainty about a publisher's procedures.

The questions above are important consider in your evaluation of a publisher/publication.  No single consideration is more important than the others.  Publishing is a complex business, and these questions are designed to work in conjunction with each other to give you an overall picture of a publishing organization.

If you aren't sure about a publisher, a fine practice is to contact the editor-in-chief of the journal, or the subject editor for a monograph.  Also, use your common sense when evaluating the publisher's website and when using Google to find criticisms. Talk to your librarian or set up a consultation with the scholarly communication and publishing librarian for more information.

 

 

Where to Publish?

Are you thinking about where to submit an article or monograph?  In addition to consulting colleagues, mentors, and professional listservs, the tools below will help you find out more about particular publishers and journals and, perhaps, discover new ones, too.

Many publishers are members of trade groups or publishing organizations.  Some of the best known of these groups are listed below.  In addition, a link to Cabell's, a well-known directory of journals, and a link to Journal Citation Reports, are provided.  Use these resources to help you identify best places for you to publish.

Note: Several organizations listed below--DOAJ, OASPA, and WAME--helped develop the "Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing" that can 1) assist authors in evaluating publishers and publications, and 2) help potential editors and reviewers make informed decisions about service opportunities.


  • DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals): "The Directory of Open Access Journals is a service that indexes high quality, peer reviewed Open Access research journals.... The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access academic journals that use an appropriate quality control system ... and is not limited to particular languages or subject areas."
  • International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers: "STM is the leading global trade association for academic and professional publishers. It has over 120 members in 21 countries who each year collectively publish nearly 66% of all journal articles and tens of thousands of monographs and reference works. STM members include learned societies, university presses, private companies, new starts and established players."
  • Society for Scholarly Publishing: "The Society for Scholarly Publishing ... is a nonprofit organization formed to promote and advance communication among all sectors of the scholarly publication community through networking, information dissemination, and facilitation of new developments in the field."
  • OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association): OASPA's mission "is to represent the interests of Open Access (OA) journal and book publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines. This mission will be carried out through exchanging information, setting standards, advancing models, advocacy, education, and the promotion of innovation."
  • WAME (World Association of Medical Editors): WAME "is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit voluntary association of editors of peer-reviewed medical journals from countries throughout the world who seek to foster international cooperation among and education of medical journal editors. Membership in WAME is free and all decision-making editors of peer-reviewed medical journals are eligible to join. Membership is also available to selected scholars in journal editorial policy and peer review."

For monographs, find out if any of the publisher's books have won awards.  Also, look for book reviews of their titles in relevant databases.

For further assistance, talk to your subject librarian.  Subject librarians can suggest references that will help you identify and evaluate publishing opportunities, such as The Directory of Small Press & Magazine Editors & Publishers and other publishing directories.