Scholarly Writing Guide: Getting Published

This guide contains resources and information for faculty and students engaged in scholarly writing.

Thoughts on Publishing

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“Every line we succeed in publishing today - no matter how uncertain the future to which we entrust it - is a victory wrenched from the powers of darkness."

--Walter Benjamin

For an overview of the scholarly publication process, see the handout below.

Publication Options

When considering options for publication, there are a variety of factors that may affect your decision. These include:

  • Scholarly Impact: Are you looking for a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, a trade publication, a popular magazine or general audience publication? Does the journal ranking or number of citations matter? Do you need to meet certain publication guidelines for promotion or tenure review? See our Increase Your Scholarly Impact Guide for more information.
  • Audience: Who do you want to read your work? A scholarly or general audience? Scholars in a particular discipline or across disciplines? International scholars? Students? Multi-lingual audiences?
  • Accessibility: Who can access the work?  Only those with subscriptions or institutional affiliations? Only those in a particular region or country? Those with disabilities?
  • Format: Does print or electronic publication work better for your audience(s)? Does the work itself require audio-visual components not available in print? Does the format affect the accessibility of your work? Is it an interoperable and preservable format?
  • Indexing: Is the journal or other publication indexed widely or in the major indexing databases (EBSCOhost, Scopus, Gale, OCLC, ProQuest, Thomson Reuters, etc.)? Is it indexed in specific disciplinary databases relevant to your work? Is it available in full-text or abstract-only databases?
  • Acceptance rates: What percentage of submitted articles/book proposals are accepted? Do you need a highly selective journal or publisher for the current work? Would a less selective journal that reaches your target audience(s) be a better choice?
  • Turnaround time: What is the average turnaround times between submission & decision, between decision & publication? How many reviewers or review stages are there? How long are you able/willing to wait for publication?
  • Publication fees: Are you prepared to pay a reasonable publication fee (sometimes called an “article processing charge” or APC) for publication or broader access?  Is this common in your discipline? Can it be subsidized by your institution or funding agency?
  • Publication agreements & Authors' rights: Who controls access to your published work? Can you distribute or re-use it independently of your publisher? Can other scholars do the same? Will it be preserved by your publisher, your institution, or some other repository? 
  • Level of risk: Given your current career stage and goals, how much risk are you willing to take? Are traditional metrics necessary for your promotion or review process? Can you afford a longer turnaround time, an innovative format, a newer or more-focused niche journal, an open access publication? Are you willing to try a different peer review model (open, community, or formative review)?

If you’re uncertain about any of these questions, it may be helpful to consult with one of our Scholarly Communication librarians.

Publishing Scholarly Books

Finding Book Publishers: 

  • "Finding a Publisher" (AAUP)--information on finding a publisher in your academic subject areas.

  • Open Book Publishers (UK): one of the major publishers of open access scholarly books.
  • ScholarLed: ScholarLed is a consortium of five scholar-led, not-for-profit, open access book publishers that was formed in 2018.  Collectively we are seeking to develop powerful, practical ways for small-scale, scholar-led Open Access presses to grow and flourish in a publishing landscape that is changing rapidly.

Information and advice:

Publishing in Scholarly Journals

If you're looking for possible journals for publication, these resources may help

Finding Journals:

  • Ulrichsweb Periodicals Directoryprovides detailed information on academic and popular journals in a variety of disciplines, including publisher and editor contacts, scope & audience, peer review types, indexing information, and demographics . See the "Using Ulrichsweb" handout below.
  • Cabell's Directories of Publishing Opportunitiesdatabase containing contact info, web site addresses, and guidelines for submission to over 4,000 journals in Business, Education and Psychology (some libraries may have access to other disciplinary areas). See the "Using Cabell's Directories" handout below.
  • MLA Directory of Publicationsa directory of scholarly publications searchable by subject or title. Includes literature, language and linguistics, folklore, film, literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts, and historical aspects of printing and publishing. Often includes acceptance rates as well as publication information.
  • ScienceDirectsearch and browse thousands of journals in the physical sciences, engineering, life sciences, health sciences, and the social sciences & humanities; filter by publication or access type; find journal descriptions and submission guidelines within each entry.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. See our Open Access Guide for more information on publishing in OA journals.

Evaluating Journals for Publication

Evaluating journals for publication

1. The resources above can help you identify journals in your field and gather some of the answers to the questions on our “Consider Your Publication Options” page.

2. The links below may help you decide if the journals that interest you are quality journals, use good editorial practices, or could be potentially predatory or inappropriate for your needs.  But be sure to evaluate the journals and ask questions of the editors yourself, rather than relying on so-called “blacklists” or “whitelists”.

​3. Once you’ve selected a journal that meets your needs, you might want to contact the Scholarly Communication Office to discuss the submission & publication process, or consult our Copyright Advisory Services to help answer questions or concerns about author's rights,  negotiating publication agreements, or licensing and other intellectual property issues.

Getting Published in a Scholarly Journal

A publication workshop for scholars and students addressing issues in submission, revision, and publication in scholarly journals, with Tani Barlow, Rice University.

Additional Links