PhD on Track » Share and publish » Where to publish

Where to publish

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Publishing your work is an essential part of research life, and choosing where to publish is therefore an important consideration. Your choice will be influenced by traditions, decisions and  preferences in your scholarly community.

On this page you will find information about:

  • journal articles – and how to choose an appropriate journal
  • books (monographs and anthologies) – which publisher to choose
  • conference papers and posters – where to present
  • publishing your thesis
  • open research archives
  • online networking

Journal articles

Scholarly journals are mostly peer-reviewed periodicals. Exchange through journals has a long history as being one of the main modes of formal scholarly and scientific communication. Journals differ widely in scope, topic and perspective, usually with different emphasis on methodological, theoretical or topical aspects within a given field of research. Your supervisor, or other senior colleagues, will often have the experience to be able to differentiate between the journals within the same subject.

How do you identify a relevant journal?

Basic questions when analysing a journal:

  • Is it a peer-reviewed journal?
  • What is the subject area of the journal?
  • Is it aimed at the audience you want to write for?
  • Do you yourself read articles from this journal?
  • What is the impact factor of the journal?
  • Is the journal ranked in the Norwegian Scientific Index or the Danish BFI Authority List?
  • How quick is the process of acceptance and publication?
  • Is it Open Access?
  • What are the copyright policies?
  • What are the journal’s ethical profile and aims?
  • Are you supposed to include a coverletter?
  • Are the editor and the members of the editorial board respected researchers in your field?

Books

When it comes to book publishing, the most likely scenarios if you are a PhD student, at least within the social sciences or the humanities, are:

  • to revise your dissertation from thesis to published monograph
  • to write a monograph separate from the dissertation
  • to contribute a chapter to an anthology or edited book

If you are contributing to an anthology, you probably do not have to worry about choosing a publisher. But if you are planning for a monograph, your initial job will be to identify the publisher most relevant to your research field. Today most academic publishers have a diverse publishing profile and will publish books in many disciplines. It may be smart to identify a book series that is likely to have an impact in your field.

What do you look for in a publishing house?
  • How many titles are published in your field, both annually and totally?
  • Are you familiar with the authors and editors cooperating with this publisher?
  • Are you familiar with researchers cooperating with this publisher?
  • Do they have a division for your discipline?
  • Do they publish relevant book series?
  • Is the publisher or the book series ranked in the Norwegian Scientific Index or the Danish BFI Authority List?
  • What are the copyright policies?
  • What are the publisher’s ethical profile and aims?
  • Do you regularly read books from this publisher?

Conference papers and posters

Conferences are excellent venues for meeting research colleagues from around the world. The networking at the conferences can provide valuable feedback for your research and help you find opportunities for collaboration. Conference participation can take several forms. The most important ones are:

  • posters – these tend to be the first published efforts of a budding researcher.
  • papers – these usually take the form of an oral presentation. You may be required to submit an abstract for the conference, or in some cases a full paper.
  • proceedings – you may be invited or required to submit a full paper for publication in the conference proceedings. The proceedings may also contain abstracts and posters from the conference.

There is also a new and growing arena of subject-specific social media where online conferences are established. Once you have identified an interesting conference, sign up to receive notifications on abstract submission and registration deadlines, etc.

 How do you find relevant conferences in your field?
  • Participate in discussions with colleagues about relevant conferences.
  • Search the Internet for conferences in your field.
  • Sign up for newsletters from associations that regularly host conferences.
  • Read the programme of past conferences; are the topics relevant for you?
  • Who is organising the conference? Is it an association or institution that has impact in your discipline?
  • Has the conference been held several times?
  • How often does the conference take place?
  • Is it an international or national conference?
  • Who are the participants and key-note speakers at the conference?

Publishing your thesis

As your PhD work is drawing to an end, you will put the finishing touches on your thesis and dissertation. Theses in medicine, natural sciences and some disiplines in the social sciences are mostly article-based dissertations, while in the humanities the theses are commonly presented as monographs. An article-based thesis is required to include a summary to tie the articles together. Some universities have guidelines on how to structure such a thesis, see the guidelines for the University of Oslo (in Norwegian) for an example.

The articles you have published, or are about to publish, must be reprinted in the dissertation. The rights for reprinting the articles in your thesis have to be approved by the publisher at the time of submitting the articles. Your thesis will be published by your university and made available either in print, online or both.  This will ensure a permanent link to your work and give your readers ready access.

Open research archives

Most universities and research institutions maintain an in-house open research archive. These are also known as repositories. Such archives function both as archives of published works for the institution, but also as publishers. If you deposit a work in an open research archive it is to be considered as published. If it is a previously unpublished work, putting it in the archive may hinder later publication by a publishing house. If the work is already published, the original publisher may retain the rights and you may not redistribute the work through an archive. However, the archive will provide you with an online copy for easy distribution and you will have a permanent link for the work.

There is increasing acceptance within research communities of online self-archiving of manuscripts and papers, and of publishing in online preprint archives. The largest online preprint repository is arXiv.org, which is an open archive for scientific papers mainly in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy.

Online networking

Sharing your research online is becoming more and more important, and participating in online networks may provide good feedback and help you develop ideas. A useful place to start is to create an official researchers’ homepage at your institution. This can function as a hub for all your promotional research activities.

Blogging is a useful tool for reporting from conferences and from your reading. You may also use it to discuss questions of methodology. If you are blogging about your research, the blog can be linked from the homepage.

An increasing number of scientists use Twitter or similar micro-blogging services to share thoughts and ideas. Active use of micro-blogging will give you an online network, ready to respond to your questions or ideas.

Social media can help you stay in touch with peers globally. Keeping a sober academic profile in your use of social media reduces the risk of information misuse. Concentrate your energy on those services you find both useful and easy to maintain.

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Figure: With the increasing use of informal dissemination channels and online social networking, the publication process is changing, and scientific discussions can reach a larger audience.

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