Get in touch if you have a question or to arrange a one-to-one meeting with Lucy Lambe the Library's Scholarly Communications Officer. The publishing advice service can help with:
Choosing and evaluating journals
Tools for scholarly communications
Choosing and evaluating journals
Your choice of journal can determine the visibility and impact of your research. Think about why you want to publish your work and choose a journal that will best fit your motivations. Evaluate journals using a range of criteria as illustrated with the following example:
A table to show how journals can be assessed according to a set of standard criteria.
|Criteria ||Journal: International Organization |
||Cambridge University Press
| Is it peer reviewed? What type of review?
||Yes. Not clear from website
| Who is the audience?
| Where is it indexed?
||Scopus; Web of Science; JSTOR; Google Scholar
| What type of journal? (general, field, regional, interdisciplinary)
||General: "Internal political and economic relations"
| Open access?
| What article type does the journal publish?
||Theoretical; Research notes; Review essays; Special Issue Proposals
| Rejection rate
||5% submissions accepted. 30% desk rejected
| Turnaround time
||Not available from website
||Impact Factor: 3.213 (2015) 1/86 International Relations. CiteScore: 3.56 (2015) 4/393 Political Science and International Relations. SJR: 3.67 (2015) Q1 Political Science and International Relations. Not cited: 16% (2015)
You can use tools like Journal Citation Reports and Journal Metrics to browse journals by subject and discover journal metrics. To find open access journals in your subject areas use the Directory of Open Access Journals. There are new journals launching every day, Think, Check Submit is a checklist tool supported by publishers, libraries and researchers to help authors assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.
When your article is accepted in a journal you will often be required to sign a publishing agreement that either transfers copyright from you as the author to your publisher, or grants an exclusive licence to your publisher to distribute your work.
Signing a publishing agreement
Read the publishing agreement carefully as transferring your copyright to a publisher means you might lose the right to reuse or share your work. This might affect how you can use the work in future publications, teaching and online sharing. Look particularly for a section outlining any rights granted back to you as the author. These will often include limited rights to share your work and reuse it.
Open access publishing
There are two routes to open access, gold and green. The gold route provides access to your work directly from the publisher's website, under an open licence and usually (but not always) involves a cost to the author. Check our page on open access to find out how we can help with article processing charges (APC).
Open access via the green route requires you to deposit your accepted manuscript in an open access repository, like LSE Research Online, where anyone can access and read a version of your work for free.
Using and sharing your work
Take advantage of open access publishing to share your work and make it discoverable by a wider range of researchers and the public. There is lots of evidence that open access publishing increases views and citations for journal articles. Your publishing agreement will often allow you to post a version of your work beyond LSE Research Online, for example on your personal web page or ResearchGate, and if you publish under an open licence you are free to reuse your work however you like.
Just like journal articles, choosing a publisher for your book should be carefully considered, and approaching a publisher will require some preparations.
Start to narrow down your choices by looking at your own bookshelf or bibliography from a recent article or thesis. Narrow down your list by reviewing the websites of those publishers. What have they published recently, are they currently accepting proposals, and what is the process for getting in touch? Once you have a shortlist, prioritise contacts and plan your proposal.
Usually book publishers are looking for the following in your proposal:
- A short overview of the work, and a statement of aims, which should be concise and without an assumption of prior knowledge on the subject.
- A table of contents, with chapter headings and sub-headings.
- A description of the reader and the market for your book, including a summary of recent books on the same topic and how yours is different.
- Expected delivery date, length, and whether the book will include material other than text, eg, photographs, illustrations, cases, questions, appendices, supplementary materials etc.
(This list was adapted from the book How to Publish your PhD by Sarah Caro)
Unlike journal articles, you can approach multiple book publishers at once, but ensure your proposal is tailored to each publisher and mention in the cover letter that you intend to approach multiple publishers.
Signing a book contract
Read your book contract carefully and ensure it contains everything you previously discussed and agreed on with your publisher. Check for deadlines, details of payments, and whether the publisher allows any portion of the book to be made open access in LSE Research Online.
Tools for scholarly communication
ORCID is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other research contributor. With over 3 million members worldwide and over 600 at LSE, it’s becoming a standard identifier for publisher and funder systems.
ResearchGate is a social networking tool for researchers where you can share your publications and receive alerts to the publications of others. In a recent round of fundraising, organisations such as the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation gave money to support the development of the service.
ResearchGate encourages users to upload the full-text of their publications. You should be wary of whether your publisher permits this kind of sharing under your copyright agreement.
Academia.edu is another social network for researchers that encourages sharing of full-text articles. The site has received some criticism over attempts to monetise the service it provides, but for now still provides a basic free service.
Finding open access publications
Directory of Open Access Journals
DOAJ is directory of open access journals both organised by subject and searchable. It also serves as a “white list” of OA journals which must meet certain transparency criteria to be included in the directory, such as author fees, peer review process and editorial board. The directory also includes a searchable database of articles.
Unpaywall is a browser extension (Firefox, Chrome) that can direct you to a free version of any article if you hit a paywall while browsing a publisher’s website. Usually you’ll be redirected to a version in a repository and they claim to find an open access alternative 50-85% of the time.
Altmetric is a tool subscribed to by the library to that collects and collates all the social sharing and interactions around a scholarly publication. You can start the track the impact of your work, measured in Tweets, blogs, news stories and policy papers.
SciVal analyses and visualises the research performance of 8,500 research institutions around the world. You can benchmark your department or research group against those in other universities and visualise how your group collaborates globally.
Find more information about how we can help with bibliometrics.
Publishing other outputs
Before you submit an article to a journal, you can post it to websites like SocArXiv to share the pre-peer reviewed version (known as a pre-print) online. This means your work can be read and cited faster, and may attract feedback to improve it before submission to a journal. Most publishers allow this practice; you can check Sherpa RoMEO to see if your journal does.
The Library can provide and register an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) if you need one for departmental publications, such as reports.
The Library's DOI service allows you to request persistent identifiers for your research outputs. A DOI is a Digital Object Identifier, a unique online reference to a web page with information about an object and how it can be accessed. DOIs are becoming increasingly prevalent for citing research on the web, and are often required by research funders for funded research outputs.
Publishing peer reviews and sharing peer review activity is one way of making the scholarly communication process more transparent. You can sign up for a profile at Publons to get recognition for your peer reviews and share their content where this is permitted by the publisher. You can also link your account to ORCID to keep all your scholarly activities in one place.