Publishing & Scholarly Communication Resources

Choosing & Assessing Journals

Aims & Scope

The first step is always finding journals that are a match for your interests. Here are some strategies for creating a list of journals that might be the right outlet for your research...

1) Ask your mentors!

2) Search databases (ERIC, PsycINFO, etc.) and review article bibliographies to see where articles of similar subject/interest were published.

3) Tools like Cabell's Directories and Ulrichsweb Serials Directory will generate a list of journals by subject or keyword. Cabell's also includes information about journals submission and review procedures.

4) Review the websites of potential journals. You'll usually find more about the journals purpose and scope. If it looks like a journal of interest, take the time to review their submission guidelines and learn about their review process.

Impact Factor

The Impact Factor is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to recent articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a data point for comparing the relative importance of a journal within its field, though real value of impact factors is a source of much debate.

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is the only product that creates a true impact factor. Unfortunately, JCR does not provide broad coverage of education journals. If a particular journal is not covered by JCR, an impact factor cannot be calculated for the journal. View this introductory guide [PDF] to learn more about JCR. 

Acceptance Rate

Acceptance rates may be located by using Cabell's Directories: Education Set. Unfortunately, Cabell's Directories does not provide comprehensive coverage of education journals and we do not currently subscribe to other sets, so you wont find a rate for every journal.

If you cannot locate acceptance rates through Cabell's Directories, check the journal or publisher web site to see if they share that data online, some like the American Psychological Association, post their rates annually. You'll find APA rates here. A last resort is to contact the editor or publisher to ask if they are willing to share their acceptance rates.

Influence 

SciMago Journal Rank (SJR Indicator) calculates h-indexes for journals a measure of the scientific influence.  It accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from. This tool offers a variety of data point for journals: average cite per document, citation vs. self-citation, citable vs. non-citable, and cited vs. uncited documents.

Google Metrics allows authors to gauge influence of articles in scholarly publications.  Available metrics are h-index, h-core, and h-median, as well as a citation index.  Google Metrics can be browsed by publication, broad areas of research, and subcategories.  Google Metrics

 Legitimacy & Preditory Publishers

Select publishers have used the open access movement as a cover for taking advantage of scholars, especially early career researchers, to make a profit. To protect yourself from publishing scams, be skeptical when…

  • There is no review process or the review process is unusually fast
  • No revisions of your work is requested
  • You cannot find detailed information about the editorial board
  • The journal doesn’t clearly display guidelines, policies and fees or responses to related questions are vague.
  • You receive a mass mailing soliciting papers

Check Beall’s lists of predatory publishers and list of predatory journals when you question a journal’s legitimacy, and never hesitate ask your librarian for an opinion on the authenticity of a publisher or journal.

Open Access & the Discovery of Your Work

There are many ways to increase discovery of and access to your work. To increase findability, choose journals that are indexed in major databases and crawled by Google Scholar. To improve access to your research, consider publishing in respectable open access journals or with a journal/publisher that allows authors to self-archivie pre/post prints in institutional and disciplinary repositories (like Texas ScholarWorks, ERIC and PubMed).

SHERPA/RoMEO is a searchable database of author agreements and a great place to find journal policies regarding article sharing and self-archiving. Their SHERPA Publishing Definitions and Terms is also a quick and useful guide to publisher policy jargon.

 SHERPA

If you'd like to archive your work in a repository, or are required to by a funding agency, here are several options:

Texas ScholarWorks, our institutional repository, provides open, online access to scholarship produced by UT Austin faculty and staff, offers stable URLs to content, makes the work findable in Google Scholar, and preserves the works for future use.

Disciplinary repositories such as ERIC and PubMed are also good ways to help your work reach a wide audience.  

If you receive federal funding, you may be required to deposit your articles and data in specific ways and to specific repositories. This site from Columbia University Libraries is a nice summary of agency guidelines, but your UT librarian is also available help make sure you're in compliance with such regulations.  

Assessing the Impact of Your Work

Google Scholar "My Citations" is a simple way to track your citations and potentially increase your visibility as an author, though you may also choose to keep your account private.  A My Citations account enables authors to track how often and where their work is being cited.  Any publications added to your account are continually tracked and the system automatically generates three citation indices for you: total number of citations, h-index, and the i10-index.

Publish or Perish is a proprietary software application for PC that retrieves and analyzes academic citations usingGoogle Scholar data.  Publish or Perish can be used to generate total number of articles, total number of citations, average number of citations per author, h-index, g-index, and more.

Web of Science is a database that is useful for tracking citations. You can use the Cited Reference Search to seach by the cited author, cited work, cited year or a combination of the three to see where your work has been cited. Note that the number of Education journals tracked by this service is limited, so depending on where you publish this may not be the best tool for you. 

Copyright and Fair Use

Creative Commons is a simple and legally sound way for authors to manage the rights of their work. By answering four simple questions, you can quickly create easy-to-understand licenses that communicate just how others are allow to use your work.  Consider using Creative Commons licenses on your intellectual property to protect your rights and manage the ways in which your work can be used. 

UT Libraries Copyright Crash Course is a great place to learn more about fair use and copyright, and when you have tricky or specific questions, don't hesitate to ask your librarian.

Copyright Crash Course

Have Questions?

Contact the Education Librarian @ UT Libraries:  Janelle Hedstrom, jhedstrom@austin.utexas.edu   

or Find Your Subject Librarian