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Research Support

Where to publish

When your research is ready for publication, consider choosing a journal which will maximise the impact of your research. Tools such as Journal Citation Reports help you to identify the journal’s impact factor and its quartile ranking.

While these indicators are important aids to identifying a journal, it is also necessary to check out the scope of the journal, the publisher's terms and conditions, and to consult with colleagues regarding their publishing expertise. If you're not familiar with a particular journal and want to check that it is genuine and trustworthy, sites such as Think Check Submit can help.

Elsevier have produced a guide to help researchers in deciding where to publish, this can be downloaded here (registration required). Taylor & Francis have also created a guide to help researchers, looking at how and where to publish.

See the Researcher Handbook (internal RCSI only) for more information on publishing, including the importance of consistency in using personal, department and institutional names.

Journal metrics, such as Impact Factor, CiteScore, SJR and SNIP can help inform your decision on where to publish.

The best known international indicator is the Impact Factor, which is based on the average number of citations a journal has received over a two year period. The Impact factor is available from Journal Citation Reports (JCR), produced by Clarivate Analytics. A guide to using JCR to find impact factors, quartile and percentile rankings is available below.

Other journal indictors are available from Scopus

  • CiteScore: this is the closest to the Impact Factor and is based on the average number of citations a journal has received over a three year period.
  • SJR (SCImago Journal Rank): a normalised indicator. SJR is weighted by the prestige of a journal.
  • SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): a normalised indicator. SNIP measures a source's contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field.
  • JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator).  Based on PubMed records, JANE will match the text of a title and/or abstract and provide suggestions of journals to which you can submit your manuscript.
  • JournalGuide aims to bring all sources of data together in one place to give authors a simple way to choose the best journal for your research.

In order to maximise the visibility of your research, check which database your intended journal is indexed in. You want to ensure that your research will be discoverable in the results of literature/systematic review searches. The publishers’ websites will usually list the databases, but you can also browse journal lists from within the databases themselves.

Ideally, the journal should be indexed in Scopus (the university rankings are currently taken from Scopus), Medline and/or the subject specific database. For instance, it is important that a nursing article is published within a journal indexed by CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature) as nursing related literature searches will always include this database and sometimes may be limited to CINAHL. In this way, you ensure that your article is findable by your network.

Predatory publishing

Predatory publishers

An unfortunate side-effect of the growth of high-quality open access journals is the number of 'predatory' open access publishers that have also sprung up. These publishers essentially accept as many articles as possible in order to make as much money as possible. These journals provide little or no peer-review and editorial services, and as a result the quality of the articles they publish is poor.

It is important to be aware of the practices of predatory publishers; informative articles on the subject have been published by Nature and the Open Science Initiative.

Predatory journals can sometimes be hard to spot. Their websites can look professional, while making claims that are untrue. For example, saying that they have an Impact Factor when they do not, or claiming recognised experts are on the editorial board when they are not.

How to spot 'predatory' journals and publishers:

  • How quickly are they offering to publish? If they offer a very fast turn-around time for publication, then be suspicious. 
  • Where is the journal listed? Assuming the journal is an open access journal, check that it is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) which lists reputable open access journals. Quality Open Access Market also has information about the transparency and author experience of different journals. You can also check if it is on INASP's Journals Online platforms (for journals published in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Central America and Mongolia) or on African Journals Online (AJOL) for African journals.
  • Who is the publisher? Check that the publisher is a member of a trade association such as Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM).
  • Who is on the editorial board? Check that the editorial board of the journal are recognised experts in their field. Sometimes predatory journals list people as editors without their knowledge. Check that the people listed as editors are actually editors! E.g. check their profiles on their university website to ensure they mention their role as an editor of that journal.
  • Take a look at the journal. If the journal appears to have a back-catalogue of articles/issues, make sure they are accessible; look at the quality of the research published in the journal; check that there is verifiable contact information about the publisher e.g. an address and working telephone number, not just a web form; check that there is a clear statement of what fees will be charged, what they are for and when they will be charged.

Acknowledgements: This advice on predatory journals was adapted with permission from University of Portsmouth Library and ThinkCheckSubmit

Predatory conferences, in a similar way to predatory publishers, send unsolicited emails or contact people through LinkedIn asking them to speak at a conference. They may take fees for attendance at events that never happen or else are not what was advertised – for instance a whole range of disparate conferences turn out to be in the same venue. This news report from CBC highlighted some examples.

If you have been approached by unknown publishers or conferences to write, speak or attend, always be cautious and check out the credentials of any publisher or conference organiser before signing up. Speak to colleagues or check the details online to see if they are credible. Bear in mind that some predatory conferences have been known to use names and photos of prominent academics without their permission.

The further checks you can make are similar to those for predatory publishers outlined on Think Check Submit. Signs that should concern you include:

  • Instructions to pay a registration fee despite being an invited speaker
  • Poor English, bad editing and grammar
  • Vague information on the exact venue
  • Very general wording in the description of the conference topic

What you can do:

  • Speak to colleagues to see if it is a conference that is known to them
  • See if you can find presentations or papers from the same conference in previous years
  • See if other conferences are being advertised in the same venue simultaneously

Think. Check. Attend. is a useful 3-step approach to encouraging academics to ‘Think’ about the problem posed by predatory or substandard conferences, ‘Check’ the conference against a set of criteria designed to highlight attributes of good and bad quality conferences, and ‘Attend’ only if the conference adheres to the criteria consistent with a legitimate conference. It includes guidelines and a conference checker tool.