Publishing

There are many things to consider when publishing your work, from preparing your manuscript to making your work Open Access.

Choosing where to publish

Choosing the right journal or book publisher for you research is a vital part of the publishing process and it is therefore important that you research your options carefully. 

Below you will find information about what you should consider and tools that can help you. Have a look at the sections about choosing a journal, choosing a conference or choosing a book publisher.

This guidance on developing a personal publication strategy may also be helpful.

 

Other aspects of publishing

Choosing a journal

Identifying the right journal for your research can be challenging, but there are tools and resources which can help.

A useful starting point can be to identify a short list of journals that may be suitable.  There are sources and tools that can help you to find journals in your discipline or research area and can help you with making a shortlist of potential journals.

Once you have a shortlist of possible journals you can investigate each of the journals in more detail, considering factors  such as the scope, reach, discoverability and trustworthiness.

Making a short list of journals 

What you should consider when choosing a journal

 

Choosing a conference

When choosing a conference, consider the relevance of your research to the stated conference theme.You may also want to think about how broad the conference topic is.  At an early stage of your career, it might be preferable to choose a  focused conference, where you will be able to attend the majority of the sessions and where it will be easier as a newcomer to network with other researchers in your field.

It is also important to check if it is a quality conference.  There are increasingly examples of bogus or vanity conferences. These may be organised purely to make money from registration fees and sometimes also from charges for hotel accommodation, meals, transportation, etc. They are often sparsely attended, may have no prominent or relevant speakers from whom to learn or with whom to establish a network, may be cancelled with no return of fees and have little or no academic credibility. It is therefore important to make sure you choose a conference carefully using the suggestions below.

Choosing a quality conference
  • Ask for recommendations: look for conferences recommended to you by your colleagues or your supervisor
  • Consider the prestige of the sponsor or publisher: look for conferences sponsored by scholarly or professional societies or associations. Do double check that they are indeed connected to the conference
  • Establish the credibility of the conference organiser: check who they are and their affiliation, for example by considering if their contact details are consistent with where they pertain to work or who they claim to represent
  • Be wary of very generic conferences that combine many fields of research. Quality conferences usually cover a particular discipline, subject area or niche topic.
  • Review outputs from past conferences:  conferences can be annually or regularly held events. Check the outputs from previous conferences and the prestige of the authors or the presenters. Conference papers from quality conferences may be indexed in library databases such as Web of Science and IEEE Xplore, etc.  In the case of a one-off conference, have a look at who the advertised plenary speakers are as an indication of quality.
  • Be wary of unsolicited invitations: quality conferences rarely solicit papers directly from individuals. Instead, join appropriate academic networks and look for calls for conference submissions sent to the academic community.
  • Check if there is a review process for submissions: quality conferences usually receive a large number of submissions, not all of which will be accepted. Be wary of promises of instant, automatic acceptance as this may indicate no quality control on the content of the conference. In computer science, there is a culture of publishing in conferences as a main dissemination route for research outcomes. Conference paper submissions in computer science are therefore often peer reviewed.
  • Establish the process for publication of papers: conferences often produce proceedings containing all or selected papers from the conference. Check if publication of the proceedings is intended and what you can expect in terms of editorial processes.  If there is a promise to publish in a journal or proceedings, check the quality of the journal in advance of submitting to the conference.

 

Choosing a book publisher

In some disciplines, publishing a scholarly monograph has more prestige than publishing in peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings. This is particularly the case in the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS).

Monographs are distinguished from textbooks in that they communicate the author’s original research and are written for the author’s academic peers/recognised experts in the field; whereas textbooks are primarily educational material for taught students. Textbooks are rarely considered research outputs, and therefore not REF-eligible.

Choosing a publisher

If you are planning for a monograph, you will have to identify a publishing house that is most relevant to your research field. Some academic publishers have a diverse portfolio and will publish books in many disciplines, other publishers specialise in specific fields. A fundamental choice is whether you are aiming at a small expert audience or at a wider cross-disciplinary or even non-academic audience. It may be smart to identify a book series with a respected editorial board – this may help you to maximise the impact in your field.

When choosing a publishing house, you could take the following factors into account:

  • Academic weight: Does the publishing house or book series offer a peer review process? This may or may not be essential for your purposes (e.g. for future career progression or submission to the REF).
  • Prestige: Are you looking for a prestigious publisher where competition may be greater, or a younger press that may focus on offering a good personal service and where acceptance may be less competitive?
  • Speed: Will the publisher be able to meet your deadlines, if any, depending on personal requirements or those of your funder or employer?
  • Added value: Does the publishing house offer services such as: design and layout of your monograph (including designing the cover), indexing, copy-editing and proof-reading, good review coverage, and a wide and effective promotion of your monograph?
  • Pricing policy: How does the (likely) price the publishing house will sell your monograph for, compare to similar books on the target market? Does this help you to achieve your aims and reach your intended audience?
Publishers´ business models

Please be aware that some publishers operate an exploitative business model by charging publication fees without providing proper editorial and publishing services; this is sometimes referred to as ‘predatory publishing’. These publishers often get directly in touch with you with an unsolicited offer that sounds too good to be true. Often they only do the minimal peer review process, if any at all, and sometimes even guarantee acceptance. These publishers only provide a minimum amount of services, excluding functions such as design, copy-editing, advertising and promoting your monograph. Some publishers may also ask you for a fee, which may not always be clear upfront. Finally, you may be required to sign a copyright agreement in which you sign over all rights to your work. 

Open Access monograph publishing

Just as for journal articles, it is possible to publish a monograph via Open Access. This may require an author fee. Some publishers will make an electronic Open Access version of your monograph available online whilst also selling hard or paperbacks via print-on-demand. There are many other business models.

Publishing Open Access monographs is a new phenomenon which has so far been received with caution by the AHSS academic community. Initial findings suggest that an Open Access monograph may get more downloads than pay-to-view digital copies, and may open up a wider readership from a broader range of countries. Making a monograph available via Open Access could even increase print sales. However royalties are likely to be reduced and the usually guaranteed ‘long tail’ of print monograph sales is likely to be eroded. Monographs are exempt from REF 2021 open access requirements, so the decision on this rests with the author and their institution.

Publishers offering Open Access monograph publishing are, amongst others:

If you are unsure about the credibility of an Open Access publisher you can check:

These publishers are meeting strict criteria to show their commitment to quality assurance, e.g. they have a proper peer review process. For more information see:
E. Collins, C. Milloy and G. Stone, ‘Guide to Open Access Monograph Publishing for Arts, Humanities and Social Science Researchers’ (2015): http://dx.doi.org/10.5920/oapen-uk/oaguide

 

Book chapters – ‘Green’ Open Access

If you are contributing a book chapter to an edited work, it is increasingly likely that you will be permitted to archive it in SHURA.   For example, publishers such as ACM digital library, Bloomsbury, Cambridge University Press, Routledge and Sage now allow the upload of manuscripts of book chapters (often with some restrictions).  To find out what is allowed by your publisher, you can check the information about Open Access provided on your publisher’s web pages or Cambridge University maintain a list of publisher policies on their page about Making book chapters available in repositories.

When depositing a book chapter on SHURA, where possible attach the accepted manuscript to the record.  The SHURA team will check your publisher’s policy and contact you if necessary.