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Research: publishing articles

Where to publish a scientific article?

Research results are usually first published within the academic community. Thereby it is possible to assess the credibility and validity of the results and interpretations not only through peer reviewing as part of the publishing process but also through a scholarly discourse sparked by the publication.

When selecting an appropriate scientific journal, you should consider

  • the visibility and availability of the journal in places where scientific publications are searched for
  • the scientific prestige of the journal

You can assess and compare journals in several ways:

  • is the journal peer-reviewed? Finnish journals use the label  Finnish peer reviewing logo to indicate peer-reviewing. The journal has to apply for the symbol, so the journal can be peer-reviewed even though it does not have that label.
  • is there a proper description of the peer review process of the journal on the web site of the journal?
  • do other scientists in your field of research consider the journal to be valued and recognized?
  • is the publisher of the journal well-known and recognized?
  • are there well-known and recognized researchers in the editorial board of the journal?
  • does the journal have an ISSN number?
  • is the journal included in the most important databases of its field of science?
  • if the journal is open, is it included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?
  • do the articles have permanent identifiers (PID), like DOI or URN?
  • does the journal have proper international indicators for journal assessment?
  • is the journal included in the Finnish Publication Forum?

Traditional or open access publication?

  1. Publishing in an open access (OA) journal (golden OA)
    • the articles are available to everyone
    • often the author must pay for publishing an article (APC, article publishing charge)
    • they have often not reached the same level of recognition as traditional, chargeable journals
  2. Traditional publishing in a pay-for-access scientific journal
    • the articles are available only where the journal is subscribed
    • no author’s fee (usually)
    • the most highly esteemed journals in the academic world often belong to these
    • an article can in most cases be deposited in the university’s institutional repository (green OA)
  3. In addition, many pay-for-access journals offer the authors an option to pay an APC for publishing the article open for anyone (hybrid OA)
    • this is not generally recommended, because it means that the research organizations would very often pay the service twice: subscription fees and APC fees for opening the articles
    • to decrease this contradiction, FinELib (the Finnish Electronic Library Consortium) has negotiated and is negotiating with the publishers for significant discounts on APC fees or withdrawal of the whole APC fees for authors working in organizations that have a subscription to the journal.
    • in the University of Lapland, you can get a discount on APC fees of most of the journals published by Sage, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Springer, Emerald or MDPI.

The Open Science policy of the University of Lapland recommends self-archiving of publications whenever it is possible according to the publishing contracts. The university has no funds for APC fees, so the APC fees have to be included in project budgets.

Predatory journals

There are also open access publications of dubious nature, called predatory journals. Their main goal is to earn money by article processing charges, their peer-reviewing practices are not acceptable, they typically cannot guarantee the visibility of their articles, and they may at worst even vanish altogether. Publishing in those journals Is a dismerit for a researcher and may even prohibit being employed.

How to recognize predatory journals? Check the following list and evaluate the journal by using more than one positive answer to the questions:

  • the publisher or owner of the journal is not credible
  • the publisher is said to be in a western country but the web address leads to India, Pakistan, Africa etc.
  • the publisher is not a member of OASPA, COPE or STM (check their web sites as well)
  • the journal does not have ISSN
  • the title of the journal is overloaded with words like academic, international, research, scientific
  • the title of the journal is nearly the same as an esteemed journal (the difference may be a single letter or a word like "advances", "review" or "reports")
  • the journal is very actively advertised by email
  • the web site contains multiple spelling or grammatical errors
  • the peer-review process is not clearly described at the web site of the journal
  • the peer-review process or the whole publication process is described to be very fast
  • the journal is not indexed in proper international indexes like Scopus or Web of Science but it is said to be indexed in library systems and Google Scholar or some odd systems like Index Copernicus Value
  • the journal is not included in the Finnish Publication Forum or the rating is 0
  • there are conspicuous logos of Google, Creative Commons or Open access
  • the journal is not included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (doaj.org)
  • the journal is not included in well-known international article databases like Ebsco or Proquest
  • the expertise areas of the members of the editorial board seem to be different than the scope of the journal
  • the members of the editorial board do not exist in the institutes they are claimed to be
  • the email addresses of the members of the editorial board do not look like normal email addresses of a scientific organization (e.g. yahoo.com or gmail.com instead of something.edu etc.)
  • the email addresses of the journal or the editors do not fit with the publisher's name
  • the APC is lower than usual or there are odd discounts on APC (discount combined with peer reviewing an article in the same journal etc.) or it's hard to find information on the APC
  • the journal tries to charge a handling fee for submitting the article
  • there seem to be previous volumes and issues but there are no articles within them or the articles are not credible or within the scope of the journal
  • there are warnings of the journal on Twitter, ResearchGate or at some conversation that can be found by Google 

There are lists of predatory journals but they are always outdated since the situation is changing so rapidly. Cabell's black list is the most famous one but unfortunately, it is not freely available. Sometimes the journal lists do not contain some predatory journal but the dubious nature of the journal may be confirmed by finding the name of the publisher on a list of predatory publishers.

Impact of Journals

International rankings

Finnish evaluation

Self-archiving of your articles

Copies of peer-reviewed articles are recommended  to deposit in your own organization’s institutional repository.  Before depositing, you have to check the rights that the publisher gives to the authors

  • Is self-archiving allowed according to the terms and permissions of the journal
  • Which version can be deposited? Most commonly you are allowed to self-archive the final refereed manuscript (the final version sent to the publisher before the layout of the publisher), some publishers allow to self-archive the final, published pdf
  • Is there an embargo for opening the article?

When you sign the publishing contract, please, read the text and check your rights to self-archive your article into the institutional repository of the university.

It is important to upload the correct version of the article:

Draft, Author’s Original Version = the manuscript that is originally submitted to a journal
Preprint = a complete scientific manuscript that is uploaded by the authors to a public server before the formal peer-review and publication
Postprint, Author’s Accepted Manuscript, Final Draft = the version of the article that is accepted to the journal after the peer-review process but not yet gone through the layout and page design
Proof, Camera-Ready = the last version of the article with the final layout and page design, sent by the publisher to the author for final check before publishing
Publisher’s PDF, Version of Record = the final, published version of the article

Usually the correct version for self-archiving an article is the final draft (postprint). Some publishers allow or even require that you upload the publisher's PDF, but usually you are NOT allowed to upload the publisher's PDF.

If the self-archiving is not allowed, try to get it by adding the SPARC Author Addendum to the contract. You cannot add the Author Addendum to the publishing contract afterwards.

Articles written by the staff and students of the University of Lapland are self-archived to LaCRIS. If you have problems with the permissions, the library will help you and ask the publisher.

Institutional repositories are regularly harvested by big international scientific harvesters like:

Preprint servers

Preprints are a way in which a manuscript containing scientific results can be rapidly communicated from one scientist, or a group of scientists, to the entire scientific community. Manuscripts of articles can be uploaded to preprint servers, usually after submitting to a journal. Some publishers do not accept the manuscripts for publishing if the preprint has already been published - so, the policy of the publisher has to be checked before uploading the preprint.

There are numerous preprint servers available, some of them are general and some are for a certain field of science, see one list of such servers

More information on pros and cons of opening preprints:

Preprints are not regarded as proper opening your publication - it is done just for speeding up scientific discussion on the topic and for establishing the initial recognition of the finding, even if the peer-reviewed publication is published later than the competitive one. That is why it is important to self-archive the peer-reviewed article after publication to get credit of open access publishing.