Scholarly Communications

Publication

Your choice of outlet can have a significant impact on the visibility and impact of your research.  

Which is best for you – journal or conference?

Journals and conferences perform different functions.  Journal papers always have an ISSN which makes them more discoverable the conference papers, and as such they generally attract more citations.  However, attending a conference can have networking and reputational benefits.  Whichever you choose, don’t publish the same research in both journal and conference paper as this will dilute the citation impact of your work.

Identifying journals

Use our checklists to help you choose the best journal or conference for you.

Journal checklist

Is it a journal that your reading and citing audience are likely to read and cite?

If you're not reading and citing the journal you are considering, the chances are that your paper will remain unread and uncited by the scholars that do use it.

Is it double-blind peer reviewed?

Double-blind peer review, where your paper is anonymized and independently assessed by two reviewers, offers the best chance of rigorous and fair peer review.  The exception, of course, is new forms of journal that offer open, post-publication peer review.  

Is your paper within the scope of the journal?

No matter how great your paper, if it doesn't fit the scope of the journal it is likely to be rejected before peer review.

Is the journal indexed by Scopus?

Scopus indexes over 20,000 scholarly journals, conferences and monographs and is the largest bibliographic database in the world.  If the journal you are considering is not indexed by Scopus, it will seriously affect its visibility, although there are disciplinary differences. Scopus is the basis for a number of citation analyses and citation tools.  They supplied citation data for REF 2014, and the THE and QS League Tables.   Use this list to check if your journal is covered by Scopus

Does it have an international editorial board?

The best journals tend to have international editorial boards, ensuring that the research they publish is of international scope and interest.

Is the journal highly cited?

Like it or not, there are correlations in most disciplines between the citedness of journals you publish in and the resulting citedness of the papers they publish.  Most journals still use the now-discredited Journal Impact Fator as a measure of citedness.  However the SNIP and SJR are better indictors.  Use Journalindicators.com (home of the SNIP value) and ScimagoJR.com (home of the SJR value) to identify highly cited journals in your field. SNIP and SJR values of above 1 are above average.  More information on this can be found in the section on assessing the impact of your research.

Does it support open access?

Open access papers have greater visibility and are likely to have higher impact.  

Have you double-checked it is not a predatory journal?

Be aware that with the advent of Open Access, there are an increasing number of 'predatory publishers' looking to cash in on authors' willingness to pay open access fees for publication. Jeffrey Beall used to maintain a list of so-called predatory journals which has no wbeen shut down for legal reaons.  However, follow the Think, Check, Submit guidelines to ensure the journal you're thinking about is trustworthy.

Conference checklist

Is it a major international conference in your field?

There are hundreds of conferences to choose from.  To maximise your visibility and the impact of your paper, ensure you opt for the major international conferences in your discipline.

Is it peer-reviewed?

Conferences with the most rigorous standards will provide peer review for your conference paper.

Are the papers published in a proceedings volume or journal with an ISSN?

Some conferences have an associated journal or conference proceedings which publish either all, or the best, papers from their conference.  Find out whether your paper will be subsequently published in a journal or conference proceedings with an ISSN. This will maximise the discoverability and visibility of your work.

Is the conference indexed by Scopus?

Scopus indexes over 20,000 scholarly journals, conferences and monographs and is the largest bibliographic database in the world.  If the conference proceedings from your conference are indexed by Scopus, it will significantly enhance its visibility, although there are disciplinary differences. Scopus is the basis for a number of citation analyses and citation tools.  They supplied citation data for REF 2014, and the THE and QS League Tables.   Use this list to check if your journal or conference is covered by Scopus

Would your paper sit better in a journal?

It is always worth asking the question whether your research would achieve the best visibility in a journal rather than as a conference paper.  Experienced colleagues or your AD(R) should be able to advise.