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Publishing GuideClick here to chat with a librarian

Find information and guidance on publishing research, research writing, scholarly journals, and open access publishing. Access eBooks on writing and publishing, medical writing, and data. If you have suggestions for additional guides or require research assistance, contact us at library@monashhealth.org.

Publishing your work is important for disseminating new research for better health care, and to gain recognition as a scholar. The guide provides information about scholarly publishing to help you:

  • Turn your work into a publication
  • Choose a publisher and journal
  • Evaluate publishers and journals
  • Be aware of predatory publishing
  • Engage with open access publishing
  • Utilise open data in your research
  • Complete the writing process
  • Utilise checklists and resources

Resources

  • Search for a relevant and reputable journal in the Master Journal List created by Clarivate Analytics. You can also use the Match Manuscript tool to find a journal that best matches your work.
  • Use Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) to find journals, authors or articles that best matches your work in PubMed.

There are a number of tools to help determine the standing and influence of an academic journal. These tools can be used when selecting who to publish with, or for references in your research project.

Journal Ranking Tools

  • JIF (Journal Impact Factor) is the best option if the Journal is listed in JCR (Journal Citation Reports). JCR is accepted as the standard metric for ranking journals, its JIF is measured from citations in the JCR database using an absolute count. It has been in use for 50+ years, uses Web of Science and is owned by Thomson Reuters.
  • SJR (SCImago) uses Scopus as a source database. It is an alternative measure that takes into account journal prestige by applying a weighted score, so citations from a prestigious journal score more highly for each citation. You can also add the Scopus "cite score" for each paper which is which is based on the average citations received per document.
  • The journal's Impact Factor should be found or verified in Clarivate Analytics’ Journal Citation Reports. Visit the Journal Citation Reports guide for more information on how to use the tool.
  • Google Scholar Metrics ranks journals by their five-year h-index and h-median metrics. View the Top 20 health and medical sciences journal rankings or use the subcategories drop-down menu to view the top 20 journals in each medical specialty.

PREDATORY   PUBLISHING

The term "predatory publishing" was first used by a librarian named Jeffrey Beall to describe open access journals which provide a poor or non-existent peer review service (a rigorous peer review process is a key feature of reputable publishers). Predatory publishers may look like legitimate publishers but are exploitative producers of content. They may or may not charge article submission fees or excessive publication fees to authors. They may also accept most or all papers submitted to them. 

Publishing research in a predatory publication is damaging to the reputations of authors, affiliated institutions, research reliability and the publishing industry. After publishing in a predatory journal, authors may find it difficult to publish the same paper in a legitimate journal.


Predatory publishing’s relationship with open access

While the surge in predatory journals is related to an increase in open access (OA) publishing, there are a number of high quality OA journals and publishers who put great effort into offering quality peer-review services, editing and checks throughout the publishing process. Furthermore, predatory journals can also occasionally be found in well-known publishing houses. It is important to focus on the context of the publications and their policies and peer review services when determining if a journal is legitimate or not. 

Predatory meetings, conferences and awards

Beware of predatory meetings, conferences and awards which operate using a similar business model to predatory publishing. This includes a poor or non-existent peer review service, high paper submission fees, and acceptance of most or all papers submitted to them. Predatory meetings, conferences and awards may also claim to be related to legitimate publications and involve researchers without their consent.


Tools & Resources:

  • Use Think. Check. Submit. to identify trusted publishers and journals. Think. Check. Submit. provides a simple approach for researchers to avoid predatory publishers/journals.
  • Retraction Watch - a freely available database of retractions for scientists, scholars, and journalists. The mission of its parent organization, the Center for Scientific Integrity, is to promote transparency and integrity in science and scientific publishing and help draw attention to how researchers, journals, and institutions correct the scientific record.
  • Consider more than one indicator to compare journals. See the ‘Journal Rankings’ tab of this guide.
  • Tortured Phrases - when reading scholarly publications be aware of unusual phrases such as 'Counterfeit Consciousness' being used instead of 'Artificial Intelligence'. This may be indicative of automated translation or software that attempts to disguise plagiarism. Read this 2021 Nature article for more information.  
  • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory also provides information about journals, whether the journal is peer reviewed, indexed in key subject databases or available as an open access title.
  • Check Cabell’s Scholarly Analytics for their Journalytics (Whitelist) and Predatory Reports (Blacklist).
  • Use the A-Z guide below to evaluate predatory publishers and journals:

 PEER    REVIEW

Peer review is the process of evaluating research results in academic journal articles prior to formal publication, to determine the quality of the article and whether the study design is sound. This takes place after a researcher has submitted their paper to the journal for publishing.

Typically, a journal’s editorial board organises the peer review process by inviting reviewers with relevant expertise to check the paper. Structure, review criteria and critique guidelines are provided by the publishers and editorial boards to ensure that the validity, significance and originality of the study are carefully reviewed. To ensure fairness in the process and to minimise bias, feedback and comments by the reviewers (so called "referee reports") to authors are anonymous. Authors will usually receive reviewer feedback and the editorial decision of either "acceptance", "conditional acceptance" (accepted after major revisions based on reviewers' comments) or "rejection". The number of times a researcher can re-submit the modified paper depends on the journal/publisher's policies. 


Benefits of Peer Review

✔ Ensures the validity of research and prevents the publication of misleading or falsified works.

✔  Provides valuable feedback so that researchers can revise and improve their work based on analysis by experts in the field.

✔  Serves as an independent check, as an second eye apart from the editor group, to minimise bias or misconduct.
 


Predatory Publishers & Peer Review

Predatory publishers skip peer review, or only provide rudimentary checks. Therefore, it is very important to check if a publisher's peer review policy is available online, well-explained and clear before you submit your work. For examples, see Elsevier and Springer Nature policies. As the primary aim of predatory publishers is financial gain from authors' work, their peer review turnaround time will be very short and they will not provide a quality referee report. Although it is easier to get articles published through predatory publishing, it is risky as authors may suffer irreparable reputation damage.

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