Advice on publication
Different disciplines take different approaches to publication, the best sources of information on where to publish are usually your academic peers:
- Research networks within your Faculty
- Across the institution eg. within Global Research Themes
- Wider academic networks can offer insights.
If you are a new researcher, are moving into new research areas or wanting to review your publication strategy, you are likely to find these tips on choosing where to publish helpful, regardless of your discipline.
Your publication plan
Think about your whole publication plan, rather than focusing on a single current output. Your outputs can meet different goals e.g.:
- sharing findings with those in your own research area
- outlining applications for policy, industry or commerce
- highlighting a theoretical framework or method.
Ensure your personal publication strategy plans for a combination of outputs to achieve the results you want. Jobs.ac.uk offer a Research Publications Planner which includes a toolkit which can help you plan your publication strategy: this is likely to be particularly useful for postgraduate and early career researchers.
Choose a type of output to see specific tips
Journal titles are easy to compare and contrast because the majority of journals share a common structure. Key questions to ask when picking a journal are:
Does your research fit the journal? Search for the journal online and read its aims and scope, editorial policy and recent articles to check your article has a reasonable chance of inclusion.
Does the format of the journal suit your needs? Ulrich's Web is a useful tool that indicates whether journals are peer reviewed and where they are included in databases like Scopus and Web of Science.
Are you submitting your work to a trusted journal? Think, Check, Submit can help you decide. If you are unsure, please contact us for advice.
What do the bibliometrics indicate? Journal level metrics allow you to get a feel for the journal's previous citation record. Check our guide to common metrics.
Does your journal allow any form of open access? Most funders and the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF) have requirements that journal articles are made freely available. Open access is one way to make your publications count.
Conference outputs take many forms, and can be published like a journal volume, book, or simply as a collection of written abstracts. The prestige of conference outputs varies partly according to their form, but also the discipline and reputation of the conference. Key questions to ask when picking a conference are:
Does your research fit the conference? Search for the conference online and read its aims and scope and recent presentations to check your work has a reasonable chance of inclusion.
Does the format of the conference output suit your needs? You may want to publish a formal research output, or simply to share a work in progress and solicit feedback. Check if former iterations of the conference were included in databases like Scopus and Web of Science.
If you are considering conferences that are produced in the form of a journal volume or book ask:
What do the bibliometrics indicate? Conference level metrics allow you to get a feel for the conference's previous citation record. Check our guide to common metrics.
Does your conference allow any form of open access? Most funders and the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework have requirements for particular types of conference articles to be made freely available. Open access is one way to make your publications count.
Most major publishers have book proposal guidelines and editor contact details on their websites. Keep an eye out for calls to contribute towards relevant book series.
If you are approached to publish your research as a book then always look into the publisher's reputation.
HEFCE's 2015 report on monographs and open access considers open access in book publishing.
There is no point spending a year of your life writing a book if it is not going to reach the people you want to read it.
Professor Pat Thomson offers advice on picking the right publisher
There are other options for sharing your research beyond traditional publishing. Depending on your discipline, these may already be established, or new approaches that are starting to emerge.
Pre-prints & working papers
In some disciplines it is common practice to share early drafts of research papers online for feedback. Wikipedia lists pre-print and working paper servers which facilitate this.
Make sure to check if your target journal(s) has a policy against accepting papers which have been shared in this manner.
You can use social media as the main platform to share a piece of work, or to support and promote traditional publications.
Some suggested social media starting points are listed in our Build your profile page.