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ENG599 Research Skills Guide: Finding the right journal

This guide is designed to support students completing ENG599

Introduction

When deciding on the journal you're going to aim to publish in, there are a number of elements to consider to help you determine if the journal suits your needs and that of your research. You need to identify 

  • Journal relevance
  • Journal discoverability
  • Journal quality
  • Journal accessibility
  • Whether it might be a predatory publisher

Journal relevance

Is the journal going to connect your article to the right research audience?

Consider:

  • The relevance of the scope and audience of the journal.
  • Is your article adding to a conversation occurring in the journal? Are you citing articles from that journal?
  • Whether the journal includes highly cited articles on your topic. Use Scopus or Web of Science to find journals with highly cited articles on your topic.

Journal discoverability

How easily will your potential audience find your article?

Is the journal:

  • Indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, CABI, ABI/Inform or another reputable database?  Non indexed journals are less visible to the international research community.
  • Included in the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory? The Ulrichs directory will indicate the online availability of Journals in a range of scholarly databases.
  • Available in full text online and can the full text content be accessed by the intended audience?

Timelines

How long does it take to make your article available?

Check the publishers website for:

  • Journal acceptance rates
  • Time taken for peer review
  • Time taken to publish accepted articles

Journal quality

Are the articles publishing in the journal reviewed before publishing? What is the ranking of the journal compared to other journals in the same discipliine?

Some research disciplines can be disadvantaged by reliance on metrics alone. When considering the quality of appropriate journals in which to publish your research include:

  • Peer Review or Refereed journals, and the prestige of the editorial team or contributors. Use the Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory to find out more about peer reviewed journals in your discipline - it includes links to publishers websites, refereed status and list of indexing services.
  • Journal quality or rank, often determined through use of metrics.  Use SCImago Journal and Country Rank to compare journals in most disciplines.

Open Access (OA)

Publishing in an Open Access journal provides readers with unrestricted online access to articles published in scholarly publications.

You can also

  • Meet funding body requirements
  • Remove barriers to accessing your research
  • Enable worldwide collaboration with other researchers
  • Increase the impact of your research
  • Showcase CSU's research outputs

Many Open Access journals impose article processing charges (APC).

Useful tools for finding the right journal

Identifying an appropriate journal to publish in can be done in a number of ways. 

  • Look at the reference lists of the articles you are reading, which journals are common?
  • Talk to the academic staff to see if they have a suggestion
  • Using a range of tools and journal lists that will suggest appropriate journals for your topic.

Directories of Journal Quality

Databases that will indicate a journal based on the content of your paper

These tools aren’t perfect. For example, Ulrichsweb includes some journals that publish peer reviewed + non-peer reviewed content; the DOAJ might not include all quality open access journals, and recently de-listed 900+ journals that did not meet its published Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

Peer Review & UlrichsWeb

Predatory or deceptive publishers

Characteristics of predatory journals & publishers:

Some ‘predatory or deceptive publishers’ have taken the development of the open access author-pays academic publishing model, as an opportunity to make money.

 Predatory or deceptive publishers are known to:

  • Create counterfeit websites that impersonate the website of a legitimate scholarly journal, with the aim of soliciting manuscript submissions and publication charges. The legitimate journal being counterfeited may publish only in print, not have an online portal, or use another online web domain for its online journal issues.
  • Make dubious claims about the quality or credentials of a journal, e.g. citing a pseudo ‘journal impact factor’ purchased from companies such as the Global Institute for Scientific Information (GISI) which could easily be mistaken for a ‘journal impact factor (JIF)’ published by Thomson Reuters (previously ISI). The Australian Research Council and ERA now recognize Quartile journal ranks, and discourage the use of Journal Impact Factors.
  • Have websites with spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Adopt a journal name that is easily mistaken for that of another established title, or incorrectly identified with an established institution or professional association.
  • Publish a journal that includes material from multiple disciplines not normally associated together, e.g. International Journal on Recent Trends in Life Science and Mathematics.
  • Release an overwhelmingly large suite of new journals all at one time.
  • Publish content of the journal which varies from the title and stated scope.
  • Use false addresses, or indicate no address or contact details.
  • Website or email domains do not match the purported address of the publisher. 
  • Use generic email accounts (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc.) for Chief Editors or other editors. Ideally, email addresses should indicate the academics' institution.
  • Solicit papers from potential authors directly via email. Some legitimate academic publishers might contact authors directly about a relevant special issue of a journal, or announce a new journal, but it is not standard practice.
  • Provide limited editorial support.
  • Fail to meet established standards with respect to peer review.
  • Falsely list editor(s).
  • Charge non-advertised publication fees after accepting an article for publication.
  • Falsely claim that the publication is listed or indexed by reputable services, e.g. DOAJ, Scopus, Web of Science.

Check your understanding

Complete the quiz below finding the information about Journal of Environmental Engineering and Landscape Management in the locations as prompted. You will need to use UlrichsWeb, Scimago and DOAJ (linked above) to complete this activity.

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