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Academic Publishing and Impact: Journals: from Submission to Publication

Mae'r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Journals and Publishers

Journals, Publishers and Databases are frequently used synonymously but are not strictly speaking the same thing;

A journal is an individual title, it may be one of a group of titles like Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Physics etc. 

Publishers have many offshoots and journal brand they are produce; Elsevier publishes over 2000 journals, Wiley publishes more than 1600, Springer and Springer Nature are part of the same publishing group

Large Companies also provide the platforms and databases where we browse all of these titles; ScienceDirect and Scopus are Elsevier Products, Web of Science is by Clarivate. 

While some publishers have policies which apply to all journals in their portfolio, most journals operate with a degree of autonomy when considering aims and scope of the journal, editorial practices, open access pathways etc. 

How do I assess a Journal?

Picking the right journal for your article can seem like a dark art at first. There is a lot of noise around metrics and impact factors, which does not help when you're new to the process. 

Firstly, ask yourself what you mean by best, in the question 'which journal is the best for my work?'

Do you mean 'best' in terms of outreach? Placing your article alongside others in it's field? Most rigorous editorial and review standards?

Often, I am asked 'Best' meaning 'Impact'. We like to have quantifiable numbers, they make us feel more secure but the Journal Impact Factor and similar calculations are wildly misleading in their claims and do not necessarily translate into more citations for your work. The best route for 'impact' i.e. getting your paper read & cited is for your paper to be solid, good science, and accessible to more people i.e. Open Access.

There has been a generation of academics brought up to believe that journals with a high impact factor are the best, and that boosts your reputation as an academic, but it only does so because we overestimate the importance of the metric, and misinterpret what it actually means. 

SO, How do you assess a journal if all Impact Factors are nonsense? 

The Most important aspect of choosing a journal to submit your work to are the Aims and Scopes of the journal,  ask yourself does your work fit into those?

Editorial Practices. Does the journal have a rigorous peer-review system? Do they encourage research-sector efforts to improve Reproducibilty of research, share data protocols alongside the paper, do they share the datasets themselves for the conclusions to be tested? All Signs of good science, or the commitment to good science.

Reputation - is where it gets tricky and where those sneaky metrics try and help. Honestly your best guide in reputation of a journal is to ask your colleagues, co-workers and other people in your field. Look at the journals you cite yourself! You and your colleagues are authorities in your subject areas, and should be firm in your opinions on journal content. 


What is a Journal Impact Factor?

The Journal Impact Factor is a measure reflecting the annual average (mean) number of citations to recent articles published in that journal. However, it cannot be used as an indicator of the quality of individual articles or authors. In most Journal volumes, one or two articles accrue a large proportion of citations, and the other articles in the volume pick up one or two each, so a High Impact Factor is no guarantee that your paper will get loads of citations. 


The Submission Process

The 'turn-around' time between submitted your article, having it reviewed and acceptance varies between discipline. It can takes weeks or months so check the journal's submission information for an estimate

After Acceptance

What do I need to do after the article has been accepted?

1. Create a record in RIS following the guidance. This ensures that your paper complies with REF rules if it is eligible. If you don't have the full details to fill in the record, that is fine. You or our team can fill in the details later, when information like the DOI, Volume and Issue number become available.

Copyright and Open Access

The Swansea University Research Publication Policy 2023 sets out how you are required to retain your author rights to specific output types.

Swansea University is committed to disseminating its research and scholarship as widely as possible. It supports the principle that the results of publicly funded research should be freely accessible to the public. Academics at Swansea University have traditionally assigned or given away their scholarly works (in addition to the University’s rights) to publishers by transferring copyright at the point of publication. This means that many journal articles and scholarly works are under complete or partial control by academic publishers.

This research publications policy enables researchers to retain re-use rights in their own work and requires full and immediate open access for all:

  • Funded and unfunded peer reviewed research articles, published in either a journal, conference proceeding or publishing platform
  • Book chapters

Authors who are not citing specific grant funding are required to retain their author rights and use a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 CC-BY licence.

Find out more:

Research Publications Policy

Rights Retention and Licensing Tools