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Mechanical Engineering

Finding a Journal for your Work

You are done with your research - congrats!  Now where to publish it...  You may know already from looking at journal articles when doing your literature review, or maybe your advisor/mentor has given you guidance, but maybe not.

Luckily there are resources out there to help you find a journal to publish your work, including your Engineering Librarian, Dr. Sarah Over:

Open Access Publishing

Are you considering making your published research available for all without restrictions?  Then Open Access publishing may be for you!

Open Access Publishing is the initiative to make scholarly works available online for free downloading, distributing, copying, etc. without needing a paid subscription to view the scholarly work.  The idea is that anyone can read your work and build off of it, even budding scholars in developing nations.  This practice can greatly speed up and enhance the research process for all involved - just think of the last time you had to use Interlibrary Loan to get an article and imagine instead that you could access it instantly.

But, the downside of Open Access Publishing is that the author pays all publishing expenses, who pays around $2,500 USD. This price can be offset with support from your department and the Libraries' Open Access Publishing Fund (opens every fall semester for applications).

How to find an open access journal:

  • Check to see if the journal you are interested in already has open access options - many journals are adding open access or are transitioning to open access only.
  • Check the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - a community-curated listing of open access journals

Also see What is Open Access? by our Digital Scholarship Librarian, Terry Owen for more details.

Predatory Publishing

Not all publishers are in the industry to help share knowledge - some are just out to make money.  As an author, you need to be aware that there are predatory publishers that will not help you advance your research and charge you lots of money to be published.  But, how do you tell if a publisher and/or journal is predatory or not?  Some people maintain lists, but these rapidly change as everyday new journals are started, old journals are concluded, and existing journals change.  Your best bet is to look for these 3 warning signs:

  1. Are the costs unreasonably high?
    • Publishing does cost money, but there are still free journals that may only charge for extra long articles or other special cases, while open access fees are generally around $2,500 USD.  Get to know the costs typical for publishing in your field - ask your mentor or advisor!
  2. Is the journal promising an impossibly quick turn around from submission to publishing?  Or promising a speeder publish if you pay more?
    • Peer review takes time, which is generally on the order of weeks (not a day or two).  The journal may also have a back up of articles or may desire to wait until the right issue for your article, so it may take time even after acceptance and review for an article to be published.  Also, peer reviewers volunteer their time, so money should not be a factor in decreasing the time from submission to published - ask someone who volunteers for peer review how long the process takes!
  3. Is the journal and/or publisher unknown to you?
    • Although new journals do come out, you have likely heard of the journal or publisher where you want to publish in for your field.  You should have done a literature review or similar before starting your research and if you're not sure, check the journal names in your citation manager.  You can also ask your mentor or advisor to see if they have any knowledge of the journal/publisher or check the Journal Citation Reports to find additional information.

If all 3 of these warning signs are true, then the publisher/journal is likely to be predatory, but it is not a hard rule.  Last, remember that you can go to your librarian (Dr. Sarah Over) for help!