- Make sure it is peer-reviewed.
- If you are a beginner researcher and want to submit an article that is quickly and easily accepted, you may wish to consider a professional magazine as opposed to journal.
- Find out if the journal is indexed in common databases - if it is not, it is not likely to be easily found by readers which will have an impact on its citation rate and rankings.
- Check the publication turn around time - if you want your article published quickly, do not submit to a journal that has a long turn around time.
- Make sure you know what type of articles the journal accepts eg it may be a waste of time submitting your opinion piece to a journal that publishes only primary research.
- Check out the journal you wish to publish in and read a few articles - it is important to format your article to suit the journal you wish to submit to. Make sure you know which reference style to use. Read the instructions the journal produces for authors very carefully.
- Contact the editor to introduce yourself and tell him/her what you are thinking about writing. It is useful to get feedback from the editor about your idea before you start to write.
- To help you decide which journal to submit to, work your way through a review form for each journal - the review form has been developed by Wendy Belcher and can be downloaded from her website: http://www.wendybelcher.com/pages/documents/Belcher_Journal_Review_Form.pdf
2. Have a look at journal rankings and citation indexes to see which is an appropriate journal
- The higher the citation index and/or ranking, the more "credible" the journal is considered and the more brownie points you will score in the eyes of academia if you get your article published in that journal - whether this is acceptable or not is an argument for another day
- If you are an academic in Australasia, the best place to check out journal rankings is the ERA index - the rankings go from A+ which is the top ranking down to unranked: http://lamp.infosys.deakin.edu.au/era/
3. Consider submitting an article to a journal that is open access
Open access means that anyone has free access to the journal and can read it online. Research has shown that articles that are published in journals that are openly available are cited as frequently if not more so than traditional paper journals.
- Some open access journals charge fees to authors, so check this out first before you plan your article because the fees can be very expensive.
- Make sure the journal meets all the other criteria of a credible journal.
- A list of journals that are open access can be found here:
4. Think about your word count.
It is important to think about word count which will help you plan your article. Here is a calculation of word count by Dr Linda Wilson which may help you see your writing in perspective.
- Check to see if your references and abstract are included in the word count.
|Words, including references ||3000 ||3500 ||4000 ||5000 ||6000 ||7000 |
|Abstract ||150 ||150 ||150 ||150 ||200 ||200 |
|Introduction ||200 ||250 ||300 ||350 ||400 ||450 |
|Background/literature review ||550 ||600 ||600 ||700 ||750 ||800 |
|Methods ||200 ||300 ||300 ||350 ||450 ||500 |
|Results/body ||850 ||1000 ||1250 ||1650 ||2000 ||2500 |
|Discussion/implications ||550 ||650 ||700 ||1000 ||1250 ||1500 |
|Conclusion ||200 ||250 ||300 ||350 ||350 ||350 |
|Words, less references ||2500 ||3000 ||3350 ||4300 ||5150 ||6050 |
5. Over the next two weeks write the whole body of your paper
- Have half of it ready by next week.
6. Keep a list of the references you use as you go along
- Use only references that are quick and easy to access - do not use references that are difficult to to get hold of as that will cost you time.
Image: 'November dreaming'