Publishing options

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Your purpose and audience will dictate the type of article you are writing and the type of publication you are looking to approach eg academic research journals, professional magazines, newsletters.

Things to consider

Who is your target audience?

  • Is it peers? Academics/ researchers? Students/trainees?
  • Your audience might include others such as beneficiaries of your study, influencers in your field, or even your detractors.
  • Prioritize your audience after identifying the possibilities. Typically, your audience will be those who have a high interest in your topic and the ability to understand or deal with the topic as they will be the most easily engaged.
  • Learn more about identifying and prioritizing your audience with this tutorial from The Health Foundation.

Peer review process

It is important to know the process and to review the guidelines for your chosen journal title

  • Peer reviewed processes usually blinded
  • Outcomes – Reject outright; Major revision and resubmit; Minor improvements resubmit; Accept outright; Accept subject to minor changes
  • ‘Revise and resubmit’ or ‘major revision’ is generally good news so don’t panic!
  • It can often feel that you are made to jump through hoops but if you want your article published then you need to address the revisions to each reviewer in a courteous way and within the specified timeline.
  • Remember it is not personal but you do need a thick skin.
  • You must be nice to reviewers/editors.
  • Methodically address every issue, point by point.
  • It is acceptable to challenge reviewers but consider carefully why you are disagreeing with them.
  • ‘So, you have had a rejection’ - use this opportunity to revisit your manuscript and take any positive feedback to adjust the text
  • Read more about the peer review process

Becoming a reviewer for a journal is a good way to get involved in the process. Publishers provide useful guidance and often online training.

Single or multiple authors

Be clear on the purpose of the paper and who is going to write it. Is it a team approach?

If it is a team approach, it is important to consider consistent tone and use of language, and to have clarity around the rules for co-authorship

  • Set the ground rules
  • Identify roles and responsibilities
  • Agree on the authors/co-authors and position in the line-up
  • Know the line up and significance of line up, generally the person who writes the first draft is the first author, the manager or team leader is the last author.
  • Know your role
  • Agree who will manage intellectual property rights (read more)

Do you have capacity and /or funding support?

  • Increasingly research funding from external organisations includes budget for the publishing of results in Open Access journals.  It is useful to consider this at the start of the process or research.
  • You will need to review copyright ownership in light of any funding support
  • Does this support require publishing in Open Access publications only?
  • Your institution may have arrangements with publishers so be aware of this when requesting funding

Who will own the copyright once you publish?

Something to consider when choosing a publisher is who will retain the copyright. Will your organisation or employer own the rights to publications produced in the line of work? Does your organisation or employer insist on only publishing in Open Access journals?  Was this article the result of collaboration? Many helpful guides and factsheets can be found in the Copyright Toolkit.

Downloadable articles of interest include

Ethical guidelines for authors and publishers

Anyone looking to publish should consider ethical guidelines which cover things like self-citation, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, reuse of already published material. It is essential that all new authors understand the rules as failure to adhere to them could result in blacklisting.

See the COPE website for a range of guidance and information/

Where to go from here

Before you start writing, you need to consider two more important points

Selecting a journal

Types of articles