Selecting what and where to publish

Background reading

Olsen, Linda (2014) Guide to academic and scientific publication: How to get your writing published in scholarly journals, Academia.


Writing for publication requires a higher academic standard than writing an undergraduate essay or project report. While undertaking your research degree you may publish one or more of the following:

  • a research report
  • a conference paper
  • a journal article.

Background references

Finding where to publish

Publishing in a high ranking journal or conference proceedings is important. However, there is intense competition to publish in high impact journals. Consult with your supervisory team and peers for further advice.

SciMago is a portal that includes journals' scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database (Elsevier B.V.). The SCImago Journal Rank is a measure of scientific influence of scholarly journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals from which the citations have come. These journal quality indicators can help to:

  • identify journals in which to publish
  • identify journals relevant to your research
  • confirm the status of journals in which you have published.

SciMago provides links to the journal homepage and how to publish in the journal. Find out more information on publication metrics.

The Australian Government's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative produces a list of journals organised by 'fields of research' through extensive consultation with discipline experts, academic peak bodies and members of the public.

Invitations to publish

You may be invited to submit a paper to be published as:

  • a book chapter
  • an article in a special edition of a journal (usually on a particular topic)
  • an entry in an encyclopaedia.

These opportunities are particularly valuable because you know in advance that your work will be accepted for publication as long as your writing meets editorial standards. Being part of a larger collaborative writing project improves your writing, builds your research track record and increases your impact factor.

Be wary of email invitations from print-to-order publishing companies to have your thesis published as a 'book'. This form of publishing is generally considered to be 'self-publishing' and attracts little or no prestige within the academic community. Furthermore, the publishing agreement terms may constrain your right to re-use your own work.

Your completed thesis will be published online via QUT ePrints. This means that it will be discoverable via search engines and may be cited by other researchers. You retain copyright ownership of your thesis and the power to grant others non-exclusive rights to use all or parts of it.

Avoiding submitting to deceptive journal publishers and fake conferences

Think, Check, Submit is a website aimed at researchers who want to get their work published, whether it's in a journal or a book. The site provides a series of checklists to help you consider the quality and reputation of a publisher/publication regardless of the discipline or format.

Their companion site Think, Check, Attend is to help you consider the legitimacy, authenticity and appropriateness of conference so you can decide on whether to attend.

Open Access (OA) is free, immediate, unrestricted and permanent online access to peer reviewed journal articles, theses, scholarly books and book chapters worldwide.

OA content can be found by general search engines such as Google. The academic search engine BASE includes over 167 million open access documents from 8,000+ academic sources including QUT ePrints. National portals such as the National Library of Australia's Trove also provide an access point for region-specific open access content.

OA is important because it exposes your research to a wider audience thus increasing the possibility that it will be read, used and cited by other researchers and/or practitioners worldwide. Many studies have shown across all fields that journal articles made freely accessible to all are cited significantly more than articles that are accessible only to subscribers (Gargouri, 2010).

SHERPA/RoMEO provides summaries of the rights retained by authors under the terms of the standard agreement contracts used by hundreds of publishers. You can search these databases to find a journal or publisher at a specified level of open access.

Repository-based Open Access

With repository-based open access, the author publishes their article in a subscription journal and shares a manuscript version via a repository. Some repositories are maintained by research institutions and include scholarly content created by researchers affiliated with the institution. Other repositories focus on a specific discipline such as economics or biomedical research. QUT ePrints is an example of an institutional repository.

QUT ePrints

The QUT Open Access Policy requires that all academic staff and HDR students provide a copy of the accepted manuscript version of their peer reviewed publications for QUT ePrints. When a new publication is added to Pure, the University's Research Information Management System, Library staff will contact one of the QUT authors on the publication to request a copy of the accepted manuscript version if the file has not been attached to the Pure record by one of the authors. The accepted manuscript will be made freely available via QUT ePrints under a Creative Commons Licence Non-Commercial licence (CC-BY-NC or CC-BY-NC-ND). The Library takes on the responsibility for checking the copyright requirements of the publisher and setting an appropriate access date. It is the responsibility of the authors to ensure that they retain (or procure from the corresponding author) a copy of the accepted manuscript version and provide it for QUT ePrints.

Your completed thesis will be also be published online via QUT ePrints under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence. This means that it will be able to be downloaded, read and cited by others. However, you will be still be the copyright owner. If anyone wants to republish or use your thesis commercially or create a derivative work (for example, a translation), they are legally required to seek your permission first. Providing open access to your research outputs via QUT ePrints ensures your work is read by a broad audience and gives greater equity of access to people who are unable to access the large proportion of research literature that is locked behind publisher paywalls. If you subsequently publish a journal article which includes a figure you created for your thesis, remember to reference your thesis as the original source and include the CC licence information. This continues to protect your ownership of that figure even when copyright in the article is transferred to the publisher.

Journal-based Open Access

Open access journals provide immediate open access to the full content of each issue. Most open access journals publish articles under a Creative Commons licence. Some open access journals charge fees (article processing charges) that must be paid by the author or the author's institution. However, many open access journals are free to authors (and readers) as they are fully funded by a host university (acting as a publisher) or a scholarly society. For example, see the open access journals published by QUT. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides details of over 10,000 open access scholarly journals. QUT staff and HDR students can apply for faculty funding to cover the cost of the article processing charge (APC). Only some faculties are participating in this scheme and strict eligibility criteria apply. The eligibility criteria and application form can be found on the HiQ website.

Activity – Use SciMago to identify a suitable journal to publish in

  1. Identify one suitable journal to publish your work in from the SciMago database - note the journal must be current and refereed.
  2. Using the SHERPA/RoMEO service consider the open access policies of the publisher for your chosen journal.