On last week’s blog post, we talked about practical steps to selecting the right journal for your research papers. If you missed it, you can read it here: 7 Tips for Choosing a Journal to Publish your Scientific Paper.
This week, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of Open Access (OA) versus Traditional Publishing journals. First, the definitions: Traditionally-published journals are mostly funded through subscriptions or advertising. In the OA publication model, scholarly journals make their content freely available online to all readers without needing a subscription, pay-per-download or other fees. The cost of publication is still paid by someone, either the journal is OA because it is subsidized (by a government entity, professional society, or the like), or the publication costs are paid by you, the author of the research paper.
But the OA system has spawned a darker side, the world of “predatory journals”. For more on ways to tell whether you are dealing with a “predatory” journals, read this 10 Signs you are Dealing with a Predatory Journal.
On last week’s blogpost, we focused on tips for identifying “predatory journals”. Those are journals that exploit scientists' need to publish their research by charging publication fees to authors without providing legitimate peer-review or editorial services. If you have not read that blogpost, check it out here.
Now you know which journals to avoid. Let's talk now about how to choose the right journal for your paper.
Given the vast number of scientific journals out there, (as of today, there are 5,635 indexed in Medline, the publisher of PubMed) choosing the right journal for your paper may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one of the key factors that will determine whether your paper gets published or not. Here are 7 things to consider when making your selection.
A checklist for spotting predatory journals
Every morning I wake up to an inbox full of messages. Along with the blogs that I subscribe to, the special offers, and the occasional actual personal message from a colleague overseas, there are those like these (this is an actual message from this morning, I just took out the name of the journal):
"Special Greetings! We would like to request you to submit a 2-5 pages short communication/ Research / Review/ Case Report to the upcoming issue.
Journal of _____is a peer reviewed open access journal, aims to publish high quality basic and clinical research in all the disciplines of Nutrition Science.
Kindly submit your valuable contribution on or before 30 March, 2017. If you are interested, kindly respond to this invitation within 48 hours.
Sincerely, Editor in Chief"
It used to be so easy to spot the fake, predatory journals that advertise in these emails. They used to be full of bad spellings, weird grammar, flowery language and were sent from odd places or were on topics unrelated to my area of work.
Things have changed.
Even with the long time it takes to publish a research paper, you can still keep a consistent flow of publications.
---Last week, I posted a blog about the long time it takes for scientific papers to get published. (Thanks to all who submitted emails on their "paper waits". Samuel C. from Atlanta submitted the longest time between submission and publication, 22 months. He will receive the free book).--
This week, we talk about how to consistently publish scientific papers, in spite of this paper wait. This is important because employers, promotion committees and anyone who might evaluate your productivity will look carefully at your bibliography. Long gaps between publications could be viewed as lapses in productivity.
I was recently interviewed by John R. Platt for an article published in the website of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE-USA on the importance of presenting posters at professional conferences. (You can view the article here).
In the article, I said that “Poster sessions are a great way to get feedback on your work and for you to see what other people in your field are doing.” The three main points of the article were:
Time between submission and publication seems to be getting longer, doesn't it?
We just got a new paper accepted for publication. Yay!
As I was reviewing the pre-print, I noticed something peculiar. It said:
Date of submission February 2014!
It was now January! 2017!
Is it me...? Or do you think that scientific papers are taking longer to get published?
Looking into this, I found an article in Nature, an analysis of the length of time between submission and acceptance of papers in journals that listed those dates in Pubmed. The article apparently showed that the median "paper wait" time has stayed the same for over 30 years, about 100 days. But this wait time was not the same across all journals. According to the article, journals with the lowest and highest impact factors had the longest wait times. (What the..?!). Does that make sense to you? Let's look at this more closely.
There are journals that do not publish the submission dates on Pubmed, so those would not have been included in the article's analysis. Worse, some journals use the resubmission date rather than the first submission date as their benchmark, potentially skewing the data. The resubmission date can be many months after the date of first submission.
Your years as an undergraduate, graduate student, postdoctoral fellow or even as a junior faculty have not prepared you for this. You need to get your own funding! You can feel the mounting pressure and it is very real.
How do you start even thinking of applying and getting your own grants when you've never done it? Sure, you have written and published some good research papers in peer-reviewed journals, but writing a grant proposal is a whole new different ball game. As I have said before, writing papers is about saying what you have done. Writing grant proposals is about convincingly telling someone what you will do if they give you thousands of dollars to do it.
So how do you write a grant proposal?
Well, it is the same as for so many other journeys in life, starting is the most difficult part. But once you start and have a plan, you will have conquered the toughest hurdle.
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 1
Expand Posts Area = 1
Gap/Space Between Posts = 8px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors = 1
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results
Dr. Luz Claudio is an environmental health scientist, mother and consultant, originally from Puerto Rico. She is a tenured professor of environmental medicine and public health. Luz recently published her first book: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide. Dr. Claudio has internship programs and resources for young scientists. Opinions expressed in this blog are solely her own and may not reflect her employer's views.