Where should you (not) send your research paper?

Where should you (not) send your research paper?

Greetings! I’m a working scientist and also a scientific editor at Brittle Gum Editing, and the quality of academic publishing is important to me. The rise of open-access publishing has changed the landscape in academic publishing, and not always for the better. While the idea that publicly-funded research should be publicly available is ethically very reasonable, in the real world it results in some problems with quality control.

This post is just a little advice on choosing where to send your wonderful piece of academic communication. The full version is on my personal blog at https://darrengoossens.wordpress.com/science-spammers/.

As a general point, it is absolutely imperative that any researcher looks carefully at the journals they submit work to. I would offer this advice, particularly to less-experienced researchers:

  • Society-based publishers are often reliable (IUCr, APS, IoP, EPS, ACS, etc).
  • Look at the journals where you have found useful references. If one journal stands out (I have had projects where a lot of the relevant literature was to be found in JSSC, for example), then that is a great place to send your work. First, that journal will have a highly relevant audience, so the right people will see your work, and secondly, you’ve been reading a bunch of papers from it and you know that they are sound. To put it another way: If you’ve never found a useful paper in a journal, don’t submit there.
  • (If you have access) go to a reliable database like Web of Science (not google) and have a look at ‘Journal Citation Reports’. If the journal is not in the database, be very wary. Impact factor is not everything, but it is worth a look. Useful as it is, google scholar is not a viable way of evaluating a publication. A journal ‘indexed’ only on google scholar and similar is not really indexed.
  • If you are in chemistry, physical and materials-related sciences and the journal is not indexed in SciFinder, the CAS database, then it is probably a no go. Other fields have their own definitive indexing services. Unfortunately, there is no viable free alternative.
  • Look at Beall’s website and search for the journal name.
  • Look out for names that sound like real journals but are not quite. Make sure you check; the Research Journal of XYZ might be an intentional rip-off of the Journal of XYZ, for example. These can be subtle — Journal of Complicated Sciences is not the same as Journal of Complicated Science. They differ by a single ‘s’, which could be all it takes.
  • Not all impact factors are the same. One of the ‘journals’ below claimed this in its own semi-grammatical way in an email to me: ‘We are happy to announce you that IJLRET (www.ijlret.com) have Impact Factor. It was calculated on the basis of “Google Scholar Citation” of published articles. IJLRET got 2.265 Impact Factor by I2OR (International Institute of Organized Research).’ This is not a real impact factor.

You have no doubt worked hard on your research. Don’t devalue it by choosing the wrong place to present it to the world.

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