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Resources for Academic Publishing

Geared to faculty who need support in their efforts towards scholarly publication

Learning Objectives

Understanding scholarly publishing and finding the journal.

1. Overview of the scholarly communications process including disciplinary differences; peer-review process; bibliometrics; more about avoiding predatory publishers.

2. Identify call for papers including listservs and other venues; conference papers and blogging for feedback; how to identify some journals for potential publication. 

The Scholarly Lifecycle

The scholarly lifecycle can be circular moving from the informal to the formal and back again to the informal. For example:

communications via listservs, social media, or directly via email INFORMAL
gathering data, literature review, getting grant or other funding, detailed outline for book proposal
blogging, conference presentation, INFORMAL

conference paper, feedback on draft of article via preprint archive like arXiv

Author gets the feedback needed to improve the article to make it acceptable for the scholarly record. FORMAL

Publishing of conference paper, peer-reviewed journal article or book chapter published FORMAL

Scholars promote scholarship on social media INFORMAL
Dissemination and preservation of products including article as well as data via library institutional and subject repositories (e.g. Academic Works) and library databases QUASI-FORMAL
Research is cited by other scholars NEW RESEARCH, REITERATION



Image from University of Winnipeg Library

Peer Review

Three types of author-reviewer relationship:

  1. Single Blind: The names of the reviewers are hidden from the author but reviewers know the identity of the author(s). This is probably the most widely used method of reviewing and is, by far, the most common type.
  2. Double-Blind: neither author nor reviewer know each other
  3. Open: both author and reviewer know each other; growing in popularity and considered more evolved and fairer

Look at explication of type and style of peer review journal by journal.
Any journal promising fast peer-review is probably predatory.

Disciplinary Differences

The scholarly lifecycle varies, to some extent, from discipline to discipline. 

When evaluating publication quality, discipline matters! Discipline-based norms of scholarship which in turn affect 

  • format of scholarship--book versus journal article versus other kinds of content--which can also in turn affect
  • speed of scholarship: is the discipline lab-based or theoretical?
  • openness of scholarship: do scholars talk about and share their work pre or post-publication, generating greater feedback in advance of submission and producing more readers in general? Do informal scholarly communication inform the discourse? Does the discipline embrace Open Access?
  • theoretical versus applied; what are the standards for applied research?
  • selectiveness/difficulty of publication
  • authorship: How many authors are typical for the discipline? Do scholars work solo or in large teams?
  • quantity: do scholars publish many articles in the discipline?

Evaluating Publishers and Bibliometrics in Brief

Patrick Dunleavy (LSE)'s Thirty one things to consider when choosing which journal to submit your paper to

  • Consider the journal's acceptance rate as well as, if relevant, its journal impact factor.
  • Examine the journal's editorial board: do you recognize names? 
  • For books, consider the overall prestige of the publisher.

Journal impact factor
Meaningful for journals that are often well-known and traditional in scope and that are in the sciences and social sciences that are well-established. Journal impact factor (JIF) does not express the specific impact or influence of a specific article or author--it only addresses the journal itself. It reflects

Number of citations / number of articles

JIF can be gamed or manipulated by publishers and by authors, esp. by self-citation. City Tech does not provide access to the Web of Science which provides JIF data. Some other CUNY libraries subscribe. 

Here are some free alternatives:

What is H-Index? 

 ‘x number of articles have been cited x number of times’
H-Index favors papers with large numbers of authors and can only increase over time

One can find their h-index easily in Google Scholar if their work has been included in Google Scholar.
H-index can be gamed like any other bibliometric.

Altmetrics are available for open access publishing and can tell us about the impact of an individual article.

How Open Is a Journal?

Do you care about publishing in an open access journal or having the right to deposit your work in Academic Works? You should! 

Here is a handy guide from SPARC evaluating the openness of journals: Open Access Spectrum Evaluation Tool

The related HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Guide is very helpful as well.

What are Predatory Publishers?

Do you get spammy emails asking you to publish in a journal or present at a conference to your City Tech email address? Those are almost always from a predatory publisher. 

  • Predatory publishers are easy and sleazy  …  They represent a small subset of open access journals—analogous to vanity publishers
  • Predatory publishers prey on the ignorant, the desperate, and the duplicitous
  • Spam emails appeal to the vanity of academics
  • They usually require article processing charges but are not transparent
  • Rapid peer-review is the main come-on
  • Scholars should never publish in a journal without careful scrutiny—important to read some articles, examine the editorial board, learn more about the publisher 

Avoiding predatory publishers THINK/CHECK/SUBMIT is a great, easy to use resource.

Look in your email for an email inviting you to publish or present and use think/check/submit to evaluate it! 

Hallmarks of predatory/low-quality publishers

  • Publisher touts rapid peer-review and turn-around to publication, author receives no revisions post-submission
  • Unsolicited come-ons (unless you actually belong to the society or organization contacting you or have published with a publisher)--phishing with .edu email addresses,  use of bulk email
  • Vagueness, lack of coherence of journal’s scope: e.g. “Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal,” “British Journal of Science”
  • Contradictions about editorial process, rights or fees on the publisher’s site
  • Poorly written, ungrammatical, typo-ridden text on website; dead links on website and other signs of a hastily created, poorly maintained web presence
  • Web contact forms disconnected/not linking back from the journal or publisher
  • Poor navigation of website, poor or no searchability of content
  • The publisher is the editor of the journals; editorial boards repeat on multiple titles
  • No editor is given, nor editorial board, editorial staff and/or lacking affiliations
  • Contact information for editor an/or editorial board not .edu email but rather a gmail or yahoo email address or only web form for contact
  • Publisher has been in business fairly briefly
  • Lack of transparency about the publisher--physical location given on website may not be truthful; Difficulty in verifying the physical address of the publisher
  • Lack of transparency about fees (e.g. DOAJ may indicate article processing fees but publisher doesn’t); may use strange language about fees including “handling fee,” “page charges”; changing terms with authors
  • Too little, too much articles published
  • Name too similar to well-known title
  • No Creative Commons license if Open Access publisher
  • Peer-review process not explained clearly or in detail
  • Journal not in DOAJ (but inclusion not meaningful conversely)
  • Falsely claims indexing and abstracting in library databases/uses logos of well-known indexing and abstracting library databases as a come-on
  • Claims indexing in Sherpa Romeo which isn’t an indexing service (it’s a resource for author self-depositing, aka green OA)
  • Calls itself American Journal of …  when there’s no base in the United States, etc.
  • Copies look and feel of well-known publishers’ website
  • Links to or logos of established organizations, publishers and such when there’s no actual connection
  • Uses of weird metrics to suggest impact factor such as “view factor”

Finding Calls for Papers and Blogging

For most journals, unless there is a special or themed issue or an inaugural issue, seeking out call for papers is not necessarily relevant. However, this approach builds in deadlines that might help towards achieving our goals. 

To find high quality conferences and book chapter opportunities, however, seeking out call for papers is super useful. 

The CFP List--for humanities, chiefly English 

Conference links, multi-disciplinary
Call for Papers Wiki alphabetical listing of calls for papers in academia
InterDok:  locate future conferences, congresses, meetings and symposia
All Conferences:  Global conference directory for conferences, conventions, trade shots and more.
Conference Alerts:  Academic conferences worldwide (emphasis on international)
Research Bib:  Busy website but many leads
International Academic Conference System:  Seems to be a copy of Research Bib, but many leads
H-Net Announcements: search and browse for academic conferences, calls for papers, and programs in the humanities and social sciences

Science and Engineering
WikiCFP for sciences and technology
Conference Service:  mathematics, physics, nuclear applications, chemistry, earth sciences, computer science
Chemistry Conferences: chemistry, biotechnology, nanotechnology, life sciences, chemoinformatics, engineering
Microbiology conferences:  Straightforward list of worldwide microbiology conferences, meetings, symposia, and more
Molecular biology conferences:  Another straightforward listing of orldwide molecular biology conferences, meetings, symposia, and more.
ResearchGate Events: Scientific conferences, workshops and other events, primarily in the life sciences
Computer Science Conference Search: (computer science conference calendar and search engine)

Identify call for papers including listservs and other venues; conference papers and blogging for feedback; Participants will identify some journals for potential publication. 


Blogging is a great way to get writing as well as a means to get feedback. Many academics blog.

To find academics who blog in your area, just identify some prominent authors in your field and then google their names to see if they have blogs. In turn, they will link to other scholars' blogs. Also look for the blog of your professional organization.

Platforms for blogging:

Finding Journals to Publish In

Most importantly, target journals you know, read, and admire!

If you are unfamiliar with the journals in your discipline, you can

  • explore the journals that turn up in your literature review (we suggest using a specialized library database rather than Google Scholar since Google Scholar lacks a disciplinary-focus)
  • visit the website of the scholarly society or professional organization for your discipline or professional specialty 
  • look at the program of the top conferences in your area: explore where the highlighted speakers have published
  • ask a trusted colleague who is a current scholar in your area
  • read blogs and Twitter feeds related to your field and/or topic to learn about new research
  • Explore journals by topic in the library's ejournal portal
  • browse journals in the database for your discipline
  • browse SJR (Scimago) for journal rankings by discipline

Specialized and general SoTL journals

  • Many are listed in this guide!

Journal directories and tools to identify open access journals
Ulrich’s and Cabell’s Publication Opportunities (not at NYCCT)

Browse library journal finder by discipline

Directory of Open Access Journals

Open Access Journal finder tool (M. Eaton, KBCC)