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Scholarly Communication and Publishing

This guide is designed for those wishing to publish their research.

Journal Finder Tools

With so many journals in publication, it can be daunting to find the ideal journal to which you might submit your manuscript. There are several free tools to match manuscripts to potential journals for publication that might be of help. Most of them work the same way. You enter your manuscript title, keywords, the field of research, and sometimes an abstract, and then it will match journals for your work. Some have limiters to help you narrow your results from there. The major publishers have each created their own version of a journal finder for their journal publications. The free tools often ask you to set up an account. Here are links to some of these tools:

Publication Type

It is important to consider which type of journal in which you want to publish. Do you want to have your work freely available for anyone to read, granting the widest possible readership or do you want to publish in a proprietary journal that requires a subscription so only scholars connected to institutions that hold subscriptions may access your work? You may need to consider the wishes of the grant or agency that funded your research as more funders are requiring Open Access publication of research findings.

Open Access

Open Access (OA) journals are available to anyone on the web. They have a variety of publishing models, some that require authors to pay to publish in them, and others that are funded in alternate ways allowing authors to publish in them for free. It is important to read the specific requirements for any journal you decide to pursue for publication. Additionally, you will need to determine how you will allow the public to use your work, by selecting a Creative Commons license before you publish your work on the web. The advantages of Open Access are:

  • increased usage
  • increased citations
  • increased collaboration

Diagram of the 8 benefits of open access publishing

Diagram explaining the benefits of making research open access. Adapted by University College London from an original graphic under CC BY by Danny Kingsley and Sarah Brown.

Below are some tools to locate OA journals in which to publish..

  • Directory of Open Access Journals - DOAJ This link opens in a new window
    • DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. All DOAJ services are free of charge including being indexed. All data is freely available.
  • Shapiro Library Open Educational Resources (OER) Guide - Open Access Journals page This link opens in a new window
  • ROAD This link opens in a new window (Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources)
    • ROAD identifies open access resources which have been given ISSN numbers. The corresponding ISSN records are updated. ISSN records are matched with coverage lists provided by indexing databases, registries, and journal indicators. This process creates bibliographic records of open access content.
  • Enago Academy's Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) This link opens in a new window
    • Enago’s Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF) safeguards you from predatory publishers by letting you find pre-vetted, quality open access journals for free. This unique journal finder resolves the familiar concerns regarding journal legitimacy, predatory journals, and article processing fees by using a validated journal index issued by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Enago’s  search algorithm lets you shortlist journals which are highly suitable to your work and research purpose, resulting in maximizing your publication chances.
  • UlrichsWeb This link opens in a new window (Library database)
    • Ulrich's™ is the authoritative source of bibliographic and publisher information on more than 300,00 periodicals of all types academic and scholarly journals, Open Access publications, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters and more from around the world. It covers all subjects, and includes publications that are published regularly or irregularly and that are circulated free of charge or by paid subscription.

Subscription Journals

Subscription journals are publications that are available with a fee, or found behind a paywall when you find them online. The author signs a contract with the publisher establishing who owns the rights in regard to the content. These vary by publisher, and authors should research the rights being granted by the publisher before signing a contract upon. The University of Kansas Libraries describes Journal-Author Agreements This link opens in a new window in their guide, Resources for Editors of Scholarly Journals: 

Journal-Author Agreements

Publication agreements (sometimes known as copyright transfer agreements) are contracts between a publisher and an author that are signed before an article can be published.   Publication agreements outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Terms in publication agreements can vary from journal to journal, but most publication agreements:

  • Define who owns the copyrights to the article after it is published, or the terms of any license that the author is granting the publisher instead of copyrights.
  • Outline what the author can do with the article after publication: 
    • Using the article in teaching, including inclusion in course packs
    • Making a copy available on a website or in an institutional repository
    • Reusing content in subsequent articles, or reprinting as a whole as a chapter in a book
  • Specify how requirements of funding mandates (such as those stipulated by NIH and other federal funding agencies) will be carried out.

For more information about publication agreements, here are some suggestions to begin with:

Journal Impact Factor

Impact Factors (IF) are used to measure the importance of a journal by calculating the number of times selected articles are cited within a particular year. Hence, the higher the number of citations or articles coming from a particular journal, or impact factor, the higher it is ranked. IF is also a powerful tool if you want to compare journals in the subject category.

Impact factors may be used by:

  • Authors - to decide where to submit an article for publication
  • Libraries -  to make decisions about which journals to subscribe to
  • Academic departments to assess faculty academic productivity
  • Academic administration to make decisions on faculty promotion and tenure

Journal Metrics Tools

Measuring a Journal Impact Factor

  • Use journal metrics This link opens in a new window to understand the impact of a journal:
    • CiteScore metrics – helps to measure journal citation impact. Free, comprehensive, transparent, and current metrics calculated using data from Scopus®, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature.
    • SJR – or SCImago Journal Rank, is based on the concept of a transfer of prestige between journals via their citation links.
    • SNIP – or Source Normalized Impact per Paper, is a sophisticated metric that accounts for field-specific differences in citation practices.
    • JIF – or Journal Impact Factor is calculated by Clarivate Analytics as the average of the sum of the citations received in a given year to a journal’s previous two years of publications, divided by the sum of “citable” publications in the previous two years.
    • H-index – Although originally conceived as an author-level metric, the H-index This link opens in a new window has been being applied to higher-order aggregations of research publications, including journals.

Journal Metrics defined

  • Journal Impact Factor (JIF) - Most notable source for JIF is the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) published by Thomson Scientific. The JIF is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year, calculated by dividing the number of citations in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. The higher the impact factor, the more highly ranked the journal. Rankings range from 0 to the rare upper end near 10.
  • CCI Snapshot - Cabell's Classification Index ranks journals within each of the disciplines and topics in which it publishes. The CCI shows how much influence a journal has in a particular field of study.
  • Altmetric Report - Newer metrics that help researchers contextualize the impact of their work. These metrics include mentions of published research from sources such as news sites and social media, public policy documents, online reference managers, post-publication peer-review forums, and other online platforms. It shows how much online attention an ‘average article’ is getting in that journal.
  • PlumX Metrics This link opens in a new window - Provide insights into the ways people interact with individual pieces of research output (articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and many more) in the online environment. Examples include when research is mentioned in the news or is tweeted about. Collectively known as PlumX Metrics, these metrics are divided into five categories to help make sense of the huge amounts of data involved and to enable analysis by comparing like with like. These categories are Citations, Usage, Captures, Mentions, and Social Media. PlumX gathers and brings together appropriate research metrics for all types This link opens in a new window of scholarly research output. (Watch a brief overview of PlumX Metrics This link opens in a new window.)
  • Google Scholar Metrics This link opens in a new window - Provides an easy way for authors to quickly gauge the visibility and influence of recent articles in scholarly publications. Scholar Metrics summarizes recent citations to many publications, to help authors as they consider where to publish their new research. To get started, you can browse the top 100 publications in several languages This link opens in a new window, ordered by their five-year h-index and h-median metrics. To see which articles in a publication were cited the most and who cited them, click on its h-index number to view the articles as well as the citations underlying the metrics. You can also explore publications in research areas of your interest. To browse publications in a broad area of research, select one of the areas in the left column. For example: Life Sciences & Earth Sciences This link opens in a new window. To explore specific research areas, select one of the broad areas, click on the "Subcategories" link and then select one of the options. For example: Sustainable Development This link opens in a new window.

Quick Reference Card for Research Impact Metrics This link opens in a new window - provides a brief graphical overview of various metrics.

Simple description of Journal Metrics  This link opens in a new window (Elsevier) - Clear explanations of CiteScore, SJR, SNIP, JIF, h-index.

Journal Rankings/Comparisons

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) This link opens in a new window - SCImago's "evaluation of scholarly journals is to assign weights to bibliographic citations based on the importance of the journals that issued them, so that citations issued by more important journals will be more valuable than those issued by less important ones." (SJR indicator This link opens in a new window)


Scopus This link opens in a new window - The Scopus Journal Analyzer provides a view of journal performance, enriched with two journal metrics - SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) and SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper). 

SNIP This link opens in a new window (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) -  is a sophisticated metric that intrinsically accounts for field-specific differences in citation practices. It does so by comparing each journal’s citations per publication with the citation potential of its field, defined as the set of publications citing that journal. SNIP, therefore, measures contextual citation impact and enables direct comparison of journals in different subject fields, since the value of a single citation is greater for journals in fields where citations are less likely, and vice versa. SNIP is calculated annually from Scopus data and is freely available alongside CiteScore and SJR at Scopus This link opens in a new window. (Elsevier)

Scopus FAQs & Support This link opens in a new window
Scopus Quick Reference Guide This link opens in a new window
Scopus Training Videos This link opens in a new window.

Cabells Scholarly Analytics

Cabells Scholarly Analytics is a tool that aggregates various journal metrics to help you make decisions about journals when considering publication opportunities in your discipline.

Sample journal title from the Cabell's interface:

Screenshot of a Cabell Record

Journal Indexing

It is important when selecting a journal to discover where that journal is indexed. Which databases will add this to their collection, and thus make it searchable to a wider audience? Finding out this information can be helpful, so you know how far your publication may reach. Ulrich's Web This link opens in a new window can be a useful tool to discover this information, as it lists indexing locations under "Online Availability."

screenshot of ulrich's web menu