Finding the best home for your research: part II

How to ensure your paper gets the exposure it deserves

By Jennifer Wood - May 1, 2020  5 mins
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There are many issues to consider and various pitfalls to avoid when determining where and how to submit your work for publication. Here are our top tips on how to find the right home for your paper. Read part I of this article here.

What impact do you need from a journal?

There are many aspects to consider when trying to get published. The impact of a publication might well play a key role in your decision of journal. “Impact” can be measured in many ways, of course. The most complete way of assessing a journal’s impact is to take into account a number of different metrics, however, as each individual metric has its own particular shortcomings. The most common measures look primarily at average citations per article, for example Impact Factor and CiteScore.

Most authors will have a high impact first-choice journal, and then ultimately be published in a lower impact journal later. Be realistic and try to assess the impact level of your own work before submitting. Being rejected from journals will waste your time. The better you can match your work to the impact level of a journal, the quicker you will get published.

The concept of “impact” will also mean something different depending on what you need from your publishing experience. One aspect that may be important to you is which abstracting and indexing databases cover the journal. This indicates where your article will be visible in the research community when people search for work related to that topic. Or perhaps your work is time sensitive, and therefore the speed of the editorial process is an important factor to consider. The speed of a journal is often advertised on the website. Who the editors are may also influence your decision on where to submit. These are some areas you may wish to consider before submitting your article.

By the way, if you are rejected from a journal, you may be offered a transfer to another journal better suited to your work. It helps to be aware that all the editors involved in “transfer networks” have agreed to receive papers from other journals. Transferring your paper to the new journal will allow you to submit quicker than starting a new submission from scratch. If the paper has gone through peer review already, you will have the option to transfer the reviewer reports also, again, saving time.

Double check the scope of the journal

You may think it is clear what a journal publishes from its title, but it is always best to double check. Receiving a “reject out of scope” decision is a time-consuming and frustrating experience. Before you submit, always read the full scope (there is often more detail in the guide for authors or on the journal homepage). You may find there is a list of the areas on which the journal does (not) consider papers. It is also a good idea to look through some recently published articles and abstracts in the journal to see if your work matches the general area of papers being published in the journal. You might also come across an editorial where the editor(s) describe what they look for in a paper – all of which will be invaluable advice and information for you.

What publication model do you need?

The question of whether you want (or need) to publish your paper open access or subscription will naturally impact which journal you choose. It is important to check whether there are any requirements or restrictions imposed by your funder before submitting to a journal. You may be required to publish open access, in a gold open access journal or via green open access, so be sure to check that the journal you choose offers the option you need.

Good luck!

Where and how you decide to publish your work can have great impact on the audience it reaches and will help determine its real-world influence. You need to ask yourself “what do I need from this publication?” – is it speed, reach, impact, open access, inclusion in a certain indexing database…? The answer will inform your decision on the venue for your work. Taking time to choose the best fitting journal for your work and adhering to the author guidelines will give you the best chance of getting published, not to mention saving you time. If you do receive a rejection, it is always good practice to take on board reviewer or editor comments before submitting to another journal.

Take time to fully consider the publication options available to you at all stages of your research journey to ensure you get maximum exposure and recognition for your work. You can visit Researcher Academy for more support and resources around choosing journals and other homes for your research. Good luck with getting your paper published in a home where it will reach the correct audience, advance science and deliver you the recognition you deserve!

Contributors


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Written by

Jennifer Wood

Written by

Jennifer Wood

Based in London, Jennifer Wood is Senior Publisher of the food science journals portfolio. After graduating in biomedical science at Cardiff University, she worked at BioMed Central developing their microbiology journals and at Mark Allen Group as in-house editor of two nursing journals, before coming to Elsevier in 2015. At Elsevier she has worked on the developmental psychology and food science journals.

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