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Scholarly Communication

Information of interest to faculty, students, administration, and librarians concerning the process of communicating research and scholarly work in the academic press (print or online; journals, books, abstracts, and conference proceedings).

How to Choose a Journal to Publish In

In deciding where to publish an article, you should balance the two concepts of relevance and discoverability/accessibility.

You will want to publish in a journal that covers the topic you're writing on.  Journals that you have cited in your article are probably appropriate journals to submit to.  Your colleagues might also have suggestions.  If your topic/results would interest a more general audience, consider submitting to a more general journal.  If your topic/results would only interest a very specific audience, consider submitting to a specialized journal.  Think about (or poll people you know as to) whether someone outside your department or outside your research group/area but still within your discipline would be interested in your paper.

You will also want to publish in a journal that other people will read.  Potential readers find journals articles through indexes so you need to check Ulrich's Web to see if the journal you are submitting to is indexed in databases relevant to your field. Because journals with higher impact factors tend to have more readers, you might also want to check the impact factors of the journals you are considering.  

If you are in the humanities, you should check out the MLA Directory of Periodicals; and if you are in business, education, or psychology, you should check out Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities.  Both databases give information about expected journal article length, average acceptance rate, number of reviewers, and turnaround time to review and publish an article.  These other factors may also play a role in your decision.

You will want to submit to the journal that will have the largest number of highly interested readers of your article and that will review and publish your paper in a timely manner. You will want to avoid journals that appear to be predatory in nature. Two resources can help with evaluating journals from this perspective: Think, Check, Submit and a the blacklist maintained by Cabells using an extensive list of criteria.

The publisher Elsevier provides a number of short videos that may be of interest to scholars new to publishing their research, as well as seasoned scholars.  These videos include:

  • The "How to Get Published" series
  • The "How to Review a Manuscript" series
  • The "Introduction to Scholarly Publishing" series
  • "The Impact Factor and Other Bibliometric Indicators"
  • "Getting Your Paper Noticed"

Tools for Analyzing Author, Article, and Journal Quality

The tools listed below may provide useful information regarding how frequently your article has been cited by others, how much influence your article has had in your field of research, and how important the research published in one journal is compared to another.  However, all of these tools also have their limitations: citation indices do not usually cover book publications in any reliable way, number of citations is not an indication of quality of the work cited, and the broad coverage of journals provided by most of these sources necessarily requires that only selected journals in any given field are evaluated.  It can also take some time for new journal publications - however well thought of in the profession - to make it into the list of those covered by these tools. In using the tools below you will also want to take into account your discipline's communication cycle.  Are research results immediately commented on and used or does it take some time for your peers to consider new studies and work them into the existing corpus of research. 

Cited Reference Search

A cited reference search allows one to find papers that have cited a particular article.  Although more databases are adding cited reference searches as features, each database only lists articles within that database that have cited the particular article.  Therefore, it is more useful to use a general database rather than a subject-specific database when using a cited reference search.  The two main databases used for cited reference searches are Web of Knowledge and Scopus.  Web of Knowledge has a narrower range of journals but includes references back to 1970.  Scopus has a broader range of journals but only includes references since 1996.  Both databases also list related articles that have high overlap of references.

Eigenfactor

The Eigenfactor score is a measure of a journal's impact that takes into consideration the rank of the citing journal. It is supposed to be a measure of how much time users spend with a journal.  It is largely influenced by the number of articles published by a journal so, with all other factors being equal, a journal what publishes 300 articles should have an eigenfactor that is twice that of a journal that publishes 150 articles a year.  Only journals included in Journal Citation Reports (see Impact Factor above) are included and the sum of all scores equals 100.  A journal's Article Influence score covers the first five years after publication.  The scores are normalized so that the mean article for the entire database is 1.

H-Index

H-Index was originally introduced by J.E. Hirsch as one way of measuring an author’s impact on his field, and it relies on cited references searches.  An  author’s papers are ordered from the most to least cited paper along the x-axis.  The number of citations for each paper is then plotted as the y-coordinate.  The intersection of the line x=y with the line plotting the author's citations.  So the H-Index gives you the number of papers (n) that have been cited at least n times.  Both Web of Knowledge and Scopus will calculate H-Index for you, and there are various plugins you can use with Google Scholar.  Keep in mind that the average H-Index will vary for different disciplines and that senior authors generally have higher H-Indexes than newer scholars.  This blog post goes into a little more detail.

Impact Factor

Impact Factors are calculated yearly for journals and are based on the number of citations articles in that journal have had.  They are available through Journal Citation Reports which is produced by the same company that produces Web of Knowledge.  The most common impact factor reported for a journal in any given year is the average number of citations in that year of articles from the two previous years.  However, for some fields five-year impact factors are more appropriate because of the publication cycle of the discipline.  As with H-Index keep in mind that a "good" Impact Factor will vary by discipline.  This blog post goes into a little more detail.

ImpactStory

"ImpactStory is an open-source, web-based tool that helps researchers explore and share the diverse impacts of all their research products--traditional ones like journal articles, but also alternative products like blog posts, datasets, and software. By helping researchers tell data-driven stories about their impacts, ImpactStory aims to help build a reward system that values and encourages new forms of web-native scholarship. ImpactStory is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation'. (http://impactstory.org/faq)

Electronic Theses and Disseration Embargos

Doctoral students are required to submit their disseratations online to BEARdocs and to UMI/ProQuest.  Master's students are required to submit their thesis online to BEARdocs; submission to UMI/ProQuest is optional.  More information about this process can be found here

For BEARdocs, students are allowed to request that the full-text of their work not be made available to the public (also called an embargo) for two years (generally in anticipation of journal article publication) or for five years (generally in anticipation of a patent or a book).  Students must indicate that they want this hold using this form.  After the initial embargo period, the hold can be extended.  If you wish to extend the embargo, you must contact librarywebmaster@baylor.edu.

For UMI/ProQuest, you must fill out a separate Author Authorization form during the submission process.  UMI/ProQuest explains their embargo process here.  In addition to deciding about whether to embargo your full-text content, you need to decide whether to allow third-party retailers to access your content through UMI/ProQuest and publish/sell your work.  Read this page for more information about third-party discovery and access. In general, you probably want to promote discovery but limit the sale of your work via this UMI/ProQuest third-party retailer option.

You retain the copyright to your work with your submission to BEARdocs and UMI/ProQuest.  Under current US copyright law, the copyright for your work is automatically assigned to you, the creator.  You can choose to file formally for copyright by filing with the Copyright Office.  You can do this yourself or pay UMI/ProQuest or another party to file for you.  The 2 main advantages of filing for the copyright come into play if you are infringed and go to court.  In that case,  filing copryght:

  1. Provides the highest level of legal (prima facie) evidence that you own the copyright; and
  2. Gives you the right to collect financial damages.

Information on Publishing Books/Textbooks

Below are links to resources in the Baylor Libraries that explain the ins and outs of scholarly publishing or textbook publishing and are good sources for keeping up to date on the scholarly publishing world. The titles are linked to the OneSearch record for call number and availability information.

You might also want to read the blog entry "Insights on Scholarly Publishing Opportunities" from Eileen's blog.  It includes links to interviews with acquisitions editors from scholarly publishers as well as other information for publishing in scholarly journals.

Searching for information has changed in the age of online information discovery.  One way things have changed is through the use of DOI's or Digital Object Identifiers.  The purpose of a DOI is to better identify intellectual property in an online environment.  These numbers first started appearing in scholarly use when the American Psychological Association required their inclusion in bibliographies and reference lists for journal articles, but DOI's are now also assigned to books and book chapters. Since it is possible to disarticulate an article from the full journal issue it appeared in or a book chapter from the full book, DOI's provide a means for identifying this information and are useful tools for discovering more complete bibliographic information.  A good overview of DOI's is provided by Wiley Online's Help page on Digital Document Identifiers.  

Grant Support

If you plan to submit a grant it is best to be in communication with both the granting agency and the Office for for Sponsored Research at Baylor as soon as possible.  For best results you should begin working on your proposals at least three to six months before the deadline.

The grant officer at the funding agency wants to fund as many projects as possible, including yours.  The grant officer can help explain the specific review process for the program you are applying for and may be able to suggest some strageties for maximizing your success.  However, grant officers are busy so make sure you have a concrete plan (a one-to-two page project summary) before contacting them.

The Office for Sponsored Research has a web page on Research Funding that helps scholars to find possible funding opportunties, to develop a proposal, and to submit a proposal.  If you plan to work with human subjects or animals be sure to receive training in these areas well in advance of when you plan to submit your proposal and to allow extra time in your proposal development to account for extra review.

Data Management Planners

Many funding agencies now require data management plans as part of the proposal process.  The links below lead to websites that will walk you through the process of developing a data management plan.  Based on the requirements of the funding agency (and often the specific sub-agency), these programs will require you to answer a series of questions which are then compiled into a management plan.  These plans should be reviewed by appropriate parties prior to submission with your proposal.

Archiving Research at Baylor

The Baylor University Libraries are using the DSpace (developed by MIT and Hewlett Packard), an open source software, to build and maintain a repository of research that has been produced by scholars at Baylor University. This service has been named BEARdocs (Baylor Electronically Accessible Research Documents)

Some basic features of BEARdocs include:

  • The support of multiple communities and collections to fit the needs of any departments on campus.
  • The support of tailored submission processes for each collection so that submissions can be reviewed (if appropriate) and metadata assigned before the item becomes available in BEARdocs.
  • The support of a wide variety of digital formats.
  • The long-term preservation of specified digital objects in BEARdocs.
  • The use of metadata to provide rich descriptive information for each item held in BEARdocs.
  • The ability to both browse or search the BEARdocs collections.
  • The accessibility of BEARdocs to research harvesters, such as OAIster.
  • Accessiblity options, including complete open access to documents or limited access, depending on the needs of the individual authors.

Projects currently being maintained in BEARdocs include:

If you are a Baylor researcher who wants to contribute content to BEARdocs, or if you are a member of a Baylor Department that is interested in setting up a community in BEARdocs, please contact Billie Peterson-Lugo (Billie_Peterson@baylor.edu or 254.710.2344).

University Libraries

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