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Publish with us

Publishing tips and support for Ukrainian researchers

January 12, 2024

By Maria Botcharova, PhD

Elsevier editorial illustration showing academics gathered about a graduation cap with a heart bearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

At Elsevier, we make a variety of our support tools, datasets and education platforms freely available to academics, researchers and students in Ukraine. Here’s what we shared in a recent workshop.

As a Ukrainian living in London since childhood, I was shell-shocked by the scenes streaming from Ukraine in February 2022. Although I had not lived there since I was 5, it’s the place I spent all my summer holidays before university — in Kyiv and at my grandmother’s summer house, or dacha. It’s a place where I have a lot of family. And in a way that is more difficult to define, it’s a place I feel intrinsically connected to. When they bombed Kyiv, it felt like a physical pain.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion, I had been searching for opportunities to support Ukrainians in any way I could. I offered to translate for Elsevier employees and their relatives, who the company moved to safety from our office in Kharkiv at the start of the war. I was blown away by Elsevier’s generosity in providing this support. I went to Warsaw over Easter to direct refugees through the city and onto their destinations in Europe or elsewhere. I volunteered at the Ukrainian Welcome Centre in central London to help new migrants with the basics: securing residence permits, signing up for a doctor, filling in school forms for their children, claiming benefits. All simple tasks, but a minefield of complexity for those who don’t speak English.

Recently, Maria (far left) traveled to Lviv with Medical Life Lines Ukraine, where they delivered decommissioned NHS ambulances full of humanitarian aid including food and emergency medical supplies.

Recently, Maria (far left) traveled to Lviv with Medical Life Lines Ukraineopens in new tab/window, where they delivered decommissioned NHS ambulances full of humanitarian aid including food and emergency medical supplies.

However, I was itching to use my professional knowledge while helping Ukrainians.

We gathered a group of Elsevier colleagues who had a similar desire. I led the efforts with Jagna Mirska-Gentopens in new tab/window, a Senior Publisher for Elsevier’s Toxicology journals. Other volunteers were Helen Habernickelopens in new tab/window, Dana Niculescuopens in new tab/window, Shalimar Shadeedopens in new tab/window, Kerri Brownopens in new tab/window, Tobias Wesseliusopens in new tab/window, Angela Welchopens in new tab/window and Pragya Singhopens in new tab/window.

We brainstormed some hot topics we thought researchers might want to hear about.

Then we met with the fantastic group of researchers from the Council of Young Scientists at the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine. Prof Mykhaylo Shepitkoopens in new tab/window of the Department of Criminal Law at Yaroslav Mudryi University in Kharkiv led the Ukrainian effort. Prof Larysa Makarukopens in new tab/window and Prof Anastasia Simakhova added their expertise. We boiled the agenda down to two days of three topics, one day for authors and one for editors, and marked the 9th and 10th of October in bright yellow on our calendars.

It was now the beginning of the summer holiday, but the hard work was only just starting. Dr Bahar Mehmaniopens in new tab/window joined the team as Elsevier’s expert on reviewer activities. Geraldine Lovell would present on indexation. As Editors-in-Chief on two of our journals, Dr Marco Giudiciopens in new tab/window and Dr Soteris Kalogirouopens in new tab/window would talk about the role of the editor. Dr Jeffrey Poonopens in new tab/window, a Senior Scientific Editor at Elsevier, gathered invaluable data on where Ukrainian researchers had the most collaborations. And Laura Hassinkopens in new tab/window, Managing Director for STM Journals at Elsevier, agreed to give the welcome address.

Publishing tips and resources for Ukrainian researchers

Here are some of the highlights our presenters shared during the workshop:

  • Ukrainian researchers can find data on research and collaboration trends, as well as grants, with free access to Scopus, SciVal and Funding Institutional.

  • Choosing a journal can be complicated, but Elsevier has many suggestions on how to help: the Journal Finder toolopens in new tab/window is a great way to get started.

  • Authors can learn about this and other top tips for starting off as a researcher in Elsevier’s Researcher Academyopens in new tab/window.

  • Aside from assessing submissions, an editor’s role includes networking, education, developing the journal and helping the whole author community.

  • A paper mill is an entity that produces and sells pre-written academic papers for submission. Watch out for them because they diminish the quality of research for everyone.

  • A great peer review is polite in tone, constructive in feedback, and supports the author in improving the article, all while maintaining confidentiality.

  • Doing a review is a great way to get to know more about a journal you’re interested in.

  • Journal indexation is important and closely regulated by the relevant organizations. Getting a journal indexed drives its reputation and recognition.

Before you submit a manuscript ...

In their presentation, Senior Publisher Tobias Wesselius and Publisher Kerri Brown reviewed key elements to consider before submitting a manuscript to a journal. These included making sure the methods or results are original and not outdated; that the work is a significant enhancement of work already published rather than a duplication; and that you are submitting an up-to-date review of a subject with correct conclusions. Ultimately, the work should have scientific interest.

Slide by Senior Publisher Tobias Wesselius that asks, "Are you ready to submit your work?"

How to avoid ethics pitfalls

In scientific publishing, an understanding of publishing ethics is crucial, yet even experienced and well intentioned researchers can make mistakes. Senior Publisher Shalimar Shadeed and Learning and Development Manager Dr Angela Welch revealed the most common ethics pitfalls:

  1. Involvement with predatory journals and paper mills

  2. Duplicate submissions

  3. Citation manipulation

  4. Plagiarism and textual overlap

  5. Data falsification

  6. Image manipulation

  7. Inappropriate use of generative AI

  8. Matters of authorship

  9. Missing declarations: conflicts of interest

  10. Missing documentation: ethical consent

Slide showing top 10 ethics pitfalls of well-intentioned researchers (text in next section)

How to select peer reviewers

Dr Bahar Mehmani, Elsevier's peer review innovation lead, gave advice for editors selecting reviewers. They included finding experts in the topic or method with no or the fewest conflicts of interest and having two independent review reports per manuscript.

Dr Bahar Mehmani talks about best practices for editors selecting reviews

Publishing trends before and after war

We also revealed data on Ukrainian research and collaboration. Ukrainian research declined by 9% in 2022 following the full-scale invasion, after growing about 15% a year since 2016. But on the positive side, international collaboration increased from around 30% to more than 35% as Ukrainians dispersed around the globe.

This chart shows the scholarly output for Ukrainian researchers from 2013–2022, with a decline starting in 2022 following the invasion. (Source: Scopus)

Scholarly output for Ukrainian researchers declined following the invasion in February 2022. (Source: Scopus data on SciValopens in new tab/window)

This chart shows that international collaboration for Ukrainian researchers increased following the invasion in 2022. (Source: Scopus data on SciVal))

International collaboration for Ukrainian researchers increased following the invasion in 2022. (Source: Scopus data on SciValopens in new tab/window)


The feedback was very positive. Mykhaylo very kindly said that even he learned something during our sessions, despite being a seasoned researcher. And on the post-event survey, researchers said they found the information interesting and useful. As one participant wrote:

Тема дуже важлива і потрібна нам - науковцям, аспірантам. Дякую за запрошення! (The topic is very important and necessary for us - scientists, graduate students. Thank you for the invitation!)

Next steps

We had a range of questions and requests during the session. As a result, we’re taking these actions:

  • We are adding Ukrainian subtitles to all the sessions and will distribute these as soon as possible alongside the videos and slides from our webinar. You can find the materials here..

  • We are considering the possibility of a future workshop.

Meanwhile, access to many of Elsevier's tools and platforms — as well as APC waivers — are available for free for Ukrainian researchers.

Support for academics, researchers and students in Ukraine

During this time of need, Elsevier is providing complimentary access to its academic support tools, datasets and education solutions.


Maria Botcharova, PhD


Maria Botcharova, PhD

Senior Strategy and Innovation Manager


Read more about Maria Botcharova, PhD