On the 6th March, Dan Edwards, Life Sciences journals publisher at Cambridge, presented to a room of Cambridge Librarians, at a time when they are increasingly being asked to support researchers on the publishing process. This blog post addresses the key concerns and questions around publishing that the librarian of today needs to know.

 

Cambridge publishes books and journals on Cambridge Core: 20,000 journals worldwide, 2 million articles each year and more than 200,000 new books each year. In your opinion what makes a good journal article?

An article should be fit for purpose, original, understandable, written in good English and well organised. If the ifc (information for contributors) says include an abstract, it would be unwise not to. Also an article that is stable and (ideally) citable.

 

What questions should a researcher consider when selecting a journal?

  • What is the hierarchy of journals in your field?
  • How significant are your findings or your argument?
  • Are your results of interest to a narrow group?
  • What is the journal’s impact factor?
  • Is your paper original research or a review article?
  • Does the journal publish special issues?
  • Is the journal flourishing- is it always late?
  • Who is on the editorial board?
  • Are you looking for traditional or Open Access?
  • What is the Open Access policy of the journal?

 

Do Firstview articles (published online ahead of allocation to a journal issue) have a DOI?

Yes, Firstview articles appear in web of science, but a journals Editor would want to avoid having a backlog of too much content in FirstView.  If a journal is becoming more successful they can revise their rejection policy, as they would want to avoid completely limiting publication.

Firstview articles are discoverable, but it will take time for them to be picked up by search engines. When we allocate content to an issue there’s a table of content alerts at article and issue level, so awareness is raised again.

 

How can a researcher avoid immediate rejection with their article?

It is important that the researcher writes a good paper, free of mistakes. Common errors can include poor English, no conclusions and insufficient originality or importance. The below points are also important and should be observed:

  • Write a clear, informative abstract
  • Don’t choose an inappropriate journal! Be within the scope.
  • Obey the rules in Instructions to Contributors
  • One corresponding author signs; but approval from all authors
  • One journal at a time

Eleanor Jane Barker – Reader Support Assistant, who attended the presentation also commented that “A useful extra tip we were given is for authors to look out for any special themed issues that are coming up. If their article fits in with the theme, it increases their chances of being accepted.”

 

What kind of support does Cambridge provide to authors post publication?

We work with Editor-in-Chiefs of journals to identify key papers to work on with the author and have a coordinated plan with press releases or blog posts. Blogs posts are a great way to introduce potential readers to an article with a digestible and accessible summary.

We also have Twitter feeds in different subjects and Facebook groups and a number of guides available to authors on Author Hub, including top 10 ways to promote your article. View the full range of resources here.

 

What kind of advice do you provide for early career academics?

Many journals will offer sessions geared around getting published in their journal at conferences, or hold sessions that appeal to those starting out in their publishing career. Other journals will have a mentorship programme or seek social media editors who tend to be early career academics looking to gain experience on an editorial board.

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