Getting Started with Research: Submitting to a Journal
Finding a Journal
When you are looking for a journal to publish in. Look at the journals you have used in your research. There is often a particular journal you will have referenced multiple times. If you are citing a journal frequently then they would publish work in your specific subject area. Find the journal's website and look for the submission guidelines. Check to see if they have a call for papers. By joining appropriate mailing lists or following accounts and hashtags on social media you might find journals looking for content. The Electronic Resource list and Open Scholarly Resources section provide places to search for appropriate journals.
When you find a journal that you are interested in, check previous articles published by the journal and compare your work to see if it is a good fit. Journals will sometimes publish a special issue on a particular topic. If this is the case, be sure that your work is a good match for the theme. Before submitting consider asking a friend or colleague to review your work. They can provide you with some honest feedback and spot typos and other areas to improve upon.
It's best practice to wait to hear back from a journal before submitting your article to another.
Journals should have a submission guidelines made available. Make sure your article meets their criteria. You should look to see if the journal specifies the following:
- Is there a template provided?
- Journals usually have a template they want you to submit your article in or specify a specific font and font size.
- Does the journal specify a referencing style?
- Be sure to use the appropriate referencing style for the journal.
- Is there a specific length the article needs to be?
- Typically a journal article is between 5000 to 8000 words long but this may vary between journals. You will need to make sure your article is the right length for the journal.
- Do they require any accompanying documentation?
- Some journals require tables and figures to be submitted as a separate document. You may also need to submit your research data alongside your article.
When something is open access that means it is freely available to anyone who wishes to view it. Open access journals are available without having to pay or subscribe to access the content. The DOAJ is considered the gold standard of open access journals and a great place to look for journals to publish in.
There are several types of Open Access:
- (i) the self-archiving of an article in an openly accessible institutional or subject repository after an embargo period (in which the article is behind a paywall) or (ii) the self-archiving of an article that does not include any of the work typically done by the publisher (e.g., proofing, editing, formatting, review). Self-archiving means that the author, or the author’s home institution is responsible.
- the authors of an article pay the journal publishers to make their article openly accessible. This charge is usually referred to as an Article Processing Charge (APC).
- the journal publisher decides to make the article open access, a decision which may be rescinded at any time.
- the journal publisher does not charge author fees and any costs associated with publication are covered by the publisher (through for example, existing budgets)
Some journals publish a mix of both paywalled and openly accessible articles. These journals are referred to as hybrid open-access journals. They would typically charge an APC in order to have your work made open access.
Check to see where the journal is indexed. Most journals should list where they are indexed on their webpage. Online journals would be indexed on various databases. This means that when someone searches that database they can come across that particular journal. An indexed journal can be a mark of quality as journals will need to apply and undergo screening in order to included on those particular databases. By publishing in indexed journals your research has a better chance of being discovered.
Depending on the journal, you may or may not retain copyright of your article. Some journals have you sign a copyright transfer agreement that gives them ownership of your article. If this is the case, you may be limited with where and how many people you can share your article with. Journals should specify their copyright policies on their website but you can also check Sherpa Romeo to find out your authorship rights.