Tips for Publishing in Scientific Journals

You have just finished writing your research paper and your advisor requested that you should start checking for possible journals to submit your paper... This is a common event to every PhD students, and in particular it is a new experience to first year PhD students. So here are few tips you should consider while publishing in a scientific journal based on my personal journey so far. 

1. Evaluate Your Work... Please be Realistic !!

Often students aim to publish their work in high-ranking journal. I will talk about journal rankings later, but do not exaggerate too much when evaluating the impact of your research if you are a first year PhD student and this is your first publication. Be realistic, and if you need advise, find a referee, a third person if you want, and based on his feedback, you will decide to either submit your work as a conference paper or to a scientific journal. You do not want to get yourself in the headache of returning to your paper two months after you have submitted it, while you are currently working on something else, you are forced to make major adjustments.  

2. Journals Rankings... What are They ?

Don't try understanding and listing all the journal and paper index's. I continue to discover new metrics every day, so take a look at the most popular index's you should know.

You are probably familiar with Google Scholar, it provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place Google Scholar, you can search across many disciplines and sources from academic publishers, universities and other web sites. Google Scholar helps you find relevant work across the world of scholarly research. Google scholar uses 2 index's other than the number of citations, it uses the H index and the I index. The H-Index is the most popular metric and by definition: 

H-index is the largest number h such that h publications have at least h citations. A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np − h) papers have no more than h citations each [Wikipedia].  

The Wind Energy Journal has an H-Index of 33 according to SCImago, meaning that it has at least 33 articles with at least 33 citations each. Obviously, you can imagine that journals with a high H Index, have published papers that have made a high impact on the scientific community of their respective fields. The journal of Nature has the highest H index (year 2012), with an H Index of 768. 

SCImago Journal & Country Rank: The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator, is a widely used known algorithm that measures the average number of weighted citations received in the selected year by the documents published in the journal in the last 3 years. The journal with the highest SJR indicator for the year of 2012 is the Reviews of Modern Physics 

The SCImago allows you to search for journal rankings based on ranking parameters: subject area, subject category, country, and could order the list by the H index and SJR indicator. Also, it permits you to search for journals based on the publisher, journal ISSN and the journal title. 

Use SCImago to search for possible journals to submit your research paper, by sorting them based on their SJR indicator. Another bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles is Scopus. It uses two metrics to sort your search; the SJR and the SNIP (source normalized impact per paper) indicator. The Journal Analyzer is another database you could use during your research paper submission brainstorming, with the possibility to check conference proceedings and even book series. I find it a good tool along with Google Scholar to use in your bibliographic study as an academic search engine.

3. Start with your References

The best way to start your search for journals is to begin with the references you cited in your research paper. Often in your introduction or the state-of-art of your article, you refer to similar work from the past, a good way is to mark down the journals or conference proceedings these references were published in. This way, proper reviewers will be assigned to evaluate your research paper. Also, you do not want your paper published in a journal that most of its features and readers are outside your field of expertise. This will impact your citations in the future, and let's admit it, it is nice to have your work cited.

4. Publishers and Databases you Must Know... Use Them
  • Elsevier is a world-leading academic publishing company, with Sciendirect and Scopus as two major databases that allow you to access articles, conference proceedings and abstracts.
  • John Wiley & Sons is another world leading publishing company, specialized in academic publishing, and offers an easy to use search database. 
  • Springer is a publishing company that publishes books, e-books and peer-reviewed journals in many disciplines such as science and medicine. It is the second largest publisher in STM (science, technology and medicine), according to their website. 
  • SAGE Journal and IOP Publishing are publishing company to consider. If you are interested in journal rankings even more, I suggest that you read the Global Ranking Report of the Publishing Industry of 2013
  • If you are considering the submission of your work to a conference, WikiCFP is a useful website allowing users to publish and share "Call For Papers" for conference in diverse disciplines. Use their search engine to check for conferences that are possibly willing to include your paper in their proceedings. It also allows you to view the location of the conference, this is very helpful if you want to be safe from any "FAKE Conference Calls", making sure that organizers have held previous conferences!!! 

5. The Best Advise Comes When you ASK and READ

Often the relationship between the PhD student and the advisor is a "long distance relationship", meaning you occasionally arrange meetings over the internet. My best advise would be to don't get yourself into additional headaches and possibly even troubles during your journal selection process to publish your paper. Keep in mind, his or her name will appear in it, and so you must regard your supervisor with the selection process, he/she is more experienced than you. So you should ASK them first.

As for the READ, it is remarkable the amount of information you can learn from the journey of past and present PhD students. Since I began my blog, I started surfing the web more often and searching for people like me, first year PhD students who want to share and touch on random events during the journey of preparing our thesis. I will make sure to share as much as possible, the blogs that I find helpful and so today, I suggest you take a look at this site: Online PhD Program. No not because I am suggesting you should consider an online PhD program, but because you will find useful study tips, blogs post, article and much more. In regards to our topic, they have a wonderful post titled 105 Indispensable Resources for Online Academic Research that you should consider reading. You should save this link somewhere in your favourites if you are looking for search engines or  journal databases and happen to be lost somewhere in your study and tumbled with thoughts and ideas.

I leave you today with this statement which I find to be very true. Consider sharing it to your friends and family, it will save you time having to explain the same questions every time, with my personal favourite: How's Your PhD Going? followed by my response.... Ummm pretty good, how is your brother doing?


  1. Can i share this in my blog.. thank you so much because your blog really benefit the ummah.

    1. Reposting is allowed as long as it is referenced. Thank you.


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