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Scholarly Communications: Journal Publishing

This guide provides useful information on scholarly publishing, such as finding the best journal, author identity, or promoting publications and communications.

Useful Resources

Publishing a Journal

If you are interested in publishing a new journal, there are a wide variety of commercial publishers and platforms available which can provide various different services, including hosting, copy-editing, and marketing. There are also free, open access alternatives for managing and publishing journal content, such as Open Journal Systems, which you can install and host on your existing website.

An International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit number that uniquely identifies a serial publication. They are used by publishers, booksellers and libraries for ordering and stock control purposes. We strongly recommend that the publisher/editor of a periodical apply for an ISSN. This can be done retrospectively, even if it has been some time since the journal the periodical was first published. More information on how to apply for an ISSN is available from the National Library of Ireland.

Selecting a Journal

Some of the factors you might consider when selecting a journal include:

  • Scope of the journal and topical fit
  • Composition of the editorial board
  • Peer review e.g. single blind, double blind, open review
  • Will it be read by your target audience?
  • Where are your peers publishing?
  • Turnaround times, and how quickly epublication is available
  • Acceptance and rejection rates
  • Open access options
  • Does the author retain copyright?
  • Is the journal indexed in major databases e.g. Web of Science, Scopus, JSTOR or other key databases in your discipline
  • Journal ranking metrics such as the Journal Impact Factor, SJR or SNIP (see below for further information)

It can be also be helpful to carry out a broad search on your research topic on the Scopus or Web of Science database(s). You can then analyze the results to see the most frequently occurring journals in your chosen topic area, and also in which publications the most highly cited papers are published.

Types of Peer Review

Peer review refers to a process of evaluation undertaken by those working in the same field or profession. Various different forms of peer review are used by journals and publishers, so make sure to check which form applies before you submit your manuscript.

Single blind peer review is when the identity of the reviewer(s) is kept anonymous, but the author's name and affiliation is identified on the manuscript.  Whilst the anonymity of reviews ensures they cannot be unfairly influenced by authors, there is also the potential for reviewers to be over-critical when commenting on other's work.

Double blind peer review is when the identities of the reviewers and the authors are both anonymised. Author anonymity can help to prevent bias on the part of the reviewer, however, in some cases it can still be possible for reviewers to infer the identity of the author from their writing style, the specific topic, self-citation or other content.

Open peer review is when the identities of the reviewer and authors are both made known. Some believe this to be the most transparent form of peer review, however others argue that reviewers may be less critical or view papers more favourably due to fear of retribution if their identities are made public.

Each form of peer review has advantages and disadvantages, but the form and process of peer review utilised should be clearly stated on the publisher's or journal's website in a transparent manner.

Journal Ranking Metrics

Watch our short video explaining the different journal metrics and rankings:

 

Journal ranking lists can be used as a guide to identify highly cited publications in your field. However, these metrics reflect average citations at a journal level, and the level of citations received by individual articles varies greatly. Therefore publishing in a high impact or high ranking journal does not guarantee your work will also be highly cited, or indeed cited at all.

Several journal ranking metrics are available including those listed below. For more details on how to access and interpret each, please see the Journal Impact section on our Bibliometrics Libguide.

There are also several discipline specific rankings and guides including the Association of Business Schools (ABS) Academic Journal Quality Guide, the FT Top 50, and the European Reference Index for the Humanities & the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS).

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