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Research Process

These pages offer an introduction to the research process at a very general level.

Scholarly Publication

Publishing is an essential step in the information life cycle. By publishing, scholars allow readers to view, comment, and build upon their work, all of which are necessary steps to further knowledge. Publishing also increases the scholar's standing in his or her respective field which is important for funding and employment. Many accreditation bodies require that faculty remain active in their field; publishing is the most common way to show active engagement.

I'm ready to publish my work. What should I do?

When you are ready to publish your research it is important to find the right place to do so. Finding the perfect publication for your research can be a time consuming task, but it is vital in order to get your research out to the scholars and readers who will most benefit from it. There are several different factors to consider when selecting a publication for your research:

  • What is the scope of the journal? Does your research fit in with the subject matter? Does the tone and length of your article match previously published articles?
  • Are you submitting an article in response to a call for articles? If so, does your subject matter match the requirements in the call?
  • If you are concerned about having your article cited by other scholars, do you know what the impact factor of the journal is?
  • Do you want to publish your article in an open access journal or repository?

To answer some of the above questions refer to resources like the resources below. Note, however, that the Library does not currently subscribe to Cabell's or Journal Citations Reports. Please check with your local public or academic library to access them.

Predatory Journals

Predatory journals are pseudo-academic publications which exist primarily to profit off of employer requirements for scholars to publish. Many are open-access publications and do not provide peer reviews, editing services, or publishing help for the authors. They also may not offer quality control, indexing, or licensing, which is routine for legitimate publishers. Essentially, they will accept any article submitted and often prevent you from publishing that content in a reputable journal.  

Additional characteristics of predatory journals include:

  • Low article processing charges (APCs)
  • Small, or nonexistent editorial board
  • Single publisher with hundreds of titles
  • Issues published late or never
  • Poor quality website
  • Bogus national or international affiliation
  • Excessive errors in published content
  • Uses Index Copernicus Value as index factor
  • Promises quick turnaround and publication
  • Lack of clarity around copyright, preservation, and publishing process
  • Have titles that are very similar to those of established, non-predatory journals

The following resources may be used to determine if a particular journal or publisher is predatory:

How do I find the scope of a journal?

It is very important to learn about journals that you are interested in potentially publishing with. By researching journals early on, and finding those whose scope and subject matter match your topic well, you will have a much better chance of your article being accepted later. A simple Google search on the title of the journal will usually bring up the journal home page. From there you can read about the journal and submission guidelines.

For example, the Journal of Marketing describes their scope as thus: "Articles in Journal of Marketing concentrate on marketing needs and trends that demonstrate new techniques for solutions to marketing problems, review those trends and developments by reporting research, contribute generalizable and validated findings, and present new ideas, theories, and illustrations of marketing thought and practice."

This should give you, the author, a very clear idea of the types of articles this journal is looking for and the types of articles that are likely to be accepted for publication.

The following resources may also assist with identifying potential journals and locating their scope:

What is an impact factor?

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) provides ranking for journals in the areas of science, technology, and social sciences. They also calculate journal Impact Factor, the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the Journal Citation Reports year. This measure is a frequently used indicator as to the significance and influence of the journal in its field. Please note that the Library does not currently subscribe Journal Citation Reports. Please check with your local public or academic library to access them.

Opinions vary widely as to what constitutes a "good" impact factor. Click here for a chart which provides some context, in terms of how many journals achieve the various ranking levels. Also, please keep in mind that consideration of a good impact factor may vary by discipline. A number that is considered low in one field might be considered quite high in another field. Therefore, the Library recommends consulting with your Dissertation Chair to find out if they require a minimum impact factor for your concept paper or dissertation references.

While the NCU Library does not subscribe to Journal Citation Reports (JCR), there are some databases which provide impact factor for their published journals. Follow the instructions in the below box to find impact factor in the NCU Library and online.

How do I find the impact factor of a journal?

Follow the instructions below to find impact factor using the Library’s Annual Reviews database.

  1. Go to A-Z Databases and then click on Annual Reviews.
  2. Hover over Journals A-Z to see a list of all journals.
  3. Click on your journal title.
  4. The impact factor will appear above the journal description as shown below.

Screenshot of Annual Reviews showing the impact factor for a journal.

Note that Library subscribes to the following Annual Reviews titles only.

Annual Review of Anthropology
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology
Annual Review of Environment and Resources
Annual Review of Law and Social Science
Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior

Annual Review of Political Science
Annual Review of Psychology
Annual Review of Public Health
Annual Review of Sociology

Follow the instructions below to find impact factor using the Library’s SAGE Journals database.

  1. Go to A-Z Databases, select “S” and then click on SAGE Journals.
  2. Enter the journal title using the basic search box in the center of the screen. You can also browse journals by discipline or alphabetically.
  3. Press search.
  4. From the results screen, click on the Journals tab (defaults to Articles tab).
  5. Click on your journal title.
  6. Go to the "About" drop-down menu and select "More Information."
  7. The impact factor will appear below the journal title as shown below.

SAGE Journals screenshot showing impact factor for a journal.

Follow the instructions below to find impact factor using the Library’s ScienceDirect Journals database.

  1. Go to A-Z Databases, select “S” and then click on ScienceDirect Journals.
  2. Enter the journal title using the journal/book title box at the top of the screen. You can also browse by going to Journals & Books.
  3. Press search.
  4. Locate your journal from the list of results, or under "Suggested publications."
  5. The impact factor will appear on the next to the journal image as shown below.

Screenshot of ScienceDirect showing the impact factor for a journal.

Follow the instructions below to find impact factor using the Library’s SpringerLink Journals database.

  1. Go to A-Z Databases, select “S” and then click on SpringerLink Journals.
  2. Enter the journal title using the basic search box at the top of the screen. You can also browse by going to Journals A - Z.
  3. Press search.
  4. Select your journal from the list of results.
  5. The impact factor will appear on the right-hand side of the screen under the journal image as shown below.

Screenshot of journal page in SpringerLink with impact factor highlighted.

Follow the instructions below to find impact factor using the Library’s Wiley Online Library database.

  1. Go to A-Z Databases, select “W” and then click on Wiley Online Library.
  2. Enter the journal title using the basic search box in the center of the screen. You can also browse journals by title or subject by clicking on "1,600+ Jourals."
  3. Press search.
  4. Select your journal from the list of results.
  5. The impact factor will appear on under the journal's editor name as shown below.

Screenshot of a journal page in Wiley Online Library with the impact factor highlighted.

You can use Google to find impact factors for individual journals and for rankings by subject areas. For example, entering "Journal of Business Research impact factor" will display the impact factor in the search results as shown below.

Google search results showing the impact factor for Journal of Business Research.

 

You could also try searching more broadly for business journals. For example, entering "business journals impact factors" will display results form several different websites with impact factor rankings. Shown below is a ranking of business journals by impact factor from Social Capital Gateway.

Social Capital Gateway showing a ranking of business journals by impact factor.
 

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Are there other measures of journal/article significance or influence?

There have been numerous criticisms regarding the use of impact factor to measure the quality of a journal. Therefore, alternate bibliometric measures have evolved to address shortcomings, and to provide alternate perspectives on journal or article significance. These alternate measures further described below include: Eigenfactor Score, Article Influence Score, SCImago Journal and Country Rank (SJR), H-Index, and SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Publication).For further details about journal impact criticism, see the scholarly article below.

Fooladi, M., Salehi, H., Yunus, M. M., Farhadi, M., Chadegani, A. A., Farhadi, H., & Ebrahim, N. A. (2013). Does criticisms overcome the praises of journal impact factor? Asian Social Science, 9(5), 176-182.

Eigenfactor.org is an academic research project sponsored by the Bergstrom Lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington with the purpose of ranking and mapping scientific knowledge. Eigenfactor Scores and Article Influence Scores are calculated similarly to the methodology used by Google to rank webpages. Scholarly references link journals together in a large network of citations and allows for a comparison across disciplines.

The Eigenfactor Score measures the number of times articles from the journal published in the past five years have been cited in the JCR year. Eigenfactor scores are intended to give a measure of how likely a journal is to be used, and are thought to reflect how frequently an average researcher would access content from that journal.

The Article Influence Score calculates measures the relative importance of the journal on a per-article basis.

Follow the steps below to search a database of Eigenfactor and Article Influence scores from 1997 to 2015.

  1. Go to http://www.eigenfactor.org/projects/journalRank/journalsearch.php
  2. Enter the journal name and click "Find Journal."
  3. The Eigenfactor and Article Influence scores will be displayed on the results list as shown below.

Screenshot of Eigenfactor.org with the scores highlighted.

Developed by J.E. Hirsch, the h-index is a number intended to represent both the productivity and the impact of a particular scientist or scholar, or a group of scientists or scholars (such as a departmental or research group). The h-index is calculated by counting the number of publications for which the scientist has been cited by other authors at least that same number of times. In comparison with the ISI Impact factor, the h index corrects for highly cited papers not found in highly cited journals. This presents an unbiased way of comparing people within a discipline, especially in the sciences. 

Follow the instructions below to find h index using the Library’s Web of Knowledge database.

  1. Go to A-Z Databases, select “W” and then click on Web of Knowledge.
  2. Enter your journal title and select Publication Name from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click search.
  4. Check that the target title is the only journal listed under Refine Results > Source Titles in the left-hand side column (toward bottom). If not, tick the box next to the target title and Refine.
  5. Select Create Citation Report on the top right.
  6. h-index appears in the second box at the top as shown below.

Screenshot of Web of Science journal citation report with h index highlighted.

Follow the instructions below to find h index using the Scimago Journal & Country Rank website.

  1. Go to https://www.scimagojr.com/
  2. Enter journal title e.g. "organization studies" and press search.
  3. Select the appropriate journal title from the results list.
  4. h index appears in the upper right, as shown below.

Screenshot of Scimago journal page with H Index highlighted.


Google Scholar has adapted the h-index method of impact. h5-index is the h-index for articles published in the last 5 complete years. It is the largest number h such that h articles published in 2013-2017 have at least h citations each. You can browse the top 100 publications in several languages, ordered by their five-year h-index and h-median metrics.

Follow the instructions below to find h index using Google Scholar Metrics.

  1. Go to https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=top_venues&hl=en
  2. Click on the Categories drop-down menu to select a broad subject.
  3. Select a subcategory if desired.
  4. The h5 index is displayed for the top journals in that category or subcategory as shown below.

Screenshot of Google Scholar Metrics with h5 index highlighted

Scimago Journal and Country Rank (SJR) is an open-access database containing citation information on more than 17,000 scholarly and professional journals based on content from Elsevier's Scopus collection.

SJR is a prestige metric based on the idea that ‘all citations are not created equal’. With SJR, the subject field, quality and reputation of the journal has a direct effect on the value of a citation. SJR differs from other bibliometric measures in that it:

  • Is weighted by the prestige of the journal, thereby ‘leveling the playing field’ among journals
  • Eliminates manipulation: raise the SJR ranking by being published in more reputable journals
  • ‘Shares’ a journal’s prestige equally over the total number of citations in that journal
  • Normalizes for differences in citation behavior between subject fields

Follow the instructions below to find SJR using the Scimago Journal and Country Rank website.

  1. Go to https://www.scimagojr.com/
  2. Enter your journal title in the basic search box in the center of the screen. You can also browse by subject area by clicking on Journal Rankings at the top of the screen.
  3. Press search.
  4. Select your journal title from the results list.
  5. SJR is displayed on the lower right as shown below. You can hover over the graph to see the SJR for each year displayed.

Schimago website showing the SJR for a journal.

CWTS Journal Indicators provides free access to bibliometric indicators on scientific journals. The indicators have been calculated by Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) based on the Scopus bibliographic database produced by Elsevier. Indicators are available for over 20,000 journals indexed in the Scopus database.

A key indicator offered by CWTS Journal Indicators is the SNIP indicator, where SNIP stands for source normalized impact per paper. This indicator measures the average citation impact of the publications of a journal. Unlike the well-known journal impact factor, SNIP corrects for differences in citation practices between scientific fields, thereby allowing for more accurate between-field comparisons of citation impact. CWTS Journal Indicators also provides stability intervals that indicate the reliability of the SNIP value of a journal. More information on the indicators offered by CWTS Journal Indicators is available on their Methodology page.

Follow the instructions below to locate SNIP using the CWTS Journal Indicators website.

  1. Go to http://www.journalindicators.com/indicators
  2. Enter the journal title in the "Search for" box.
  3. The journal results appear at the bottom of the page and includes the SNIP value as shown in the first image below.
  4. You may also click on the journal title to view a graph as shown in the second image.

CWTS Jounral Indicators website showing the SNIP for a journal.

 

CWTS Jounral Indicators website showing the SNIP for a journal.

 

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How do I submit my article?

Each journal will have its own guidelines and requirements for article submissions. Do a Google search to locate the journal home page that interests you. Look for a section called Submission Guidelines, For Authors, or Requirements and make sure that you follow their rules when submitting your article. This may require some re-formatting of your content, and possibly changing your citation style. Your article will then most likely go through a peer review process; this process may slightly differ depending upon the publication. See the What is Peer Review article below for an outline of one publisher's peer review process to better understand this type of editing.

If you are considering publishing your article in an open access journal, then make sure to check the journal website and see what kind of copyright and access restrictions the publisher puts on any published materials. Open access means that your article, and any others in the journal, are immediately available for free for anyone to read, download, or distribute. This will make your research available much faster to a much larger audience. Open access journals are still struggling to gain the same type of respect and relevance that subscription based journals have, but this is a burgeoning field with more and more publishers, universities, and scholars choosing to publish their research in this way. The Public Library of Science has a great page called the Benefits of Open Access Journals (link below).

When considering open access publishers, you should conduct a Google search for the publication name to determine if there have been any reports about unethical or predatory practices. Scholars should read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions available online, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.

My article wasn't accepted. Now what?

Pay particular attention to acceptance rates and journal impact factors. The higher the journal impact factor, the lower the acceptance rate is likely to be. Review and be selective of the journals you wish to submit your work to. Paying attention to the scope of the journal and looking at previously published articles will also give you a sense of whether or not your article is appropriate for that publication. By submitting your work to a journal with a strong focus on the same subject matter as your research, rather than choosing to submit to a journal based solely on impact factor, will give you a much better chance of your article being accepted.