Friday, 23 June 2017

Where to Publish? An Interdisciplinary Guide

When research is externally evaluated, and even when it isn’t, the choice of venue for your research publications could hardly be more important. The journal you choose, or the publisher you contract with, determine the readership for your research writings, and – to some extent - determine, in addition, the quality ascribed to your work. Whether or not this is as it should be is a separate issue to that of having to respond (a) to the fact that different journals and publishers have diverse strengths and weaknesses, and (b) that hierarchies of judgement will be applied to your work on publication.

In my field, design history, there are only a handful of dedicated journals. The Journal of Design History is world-leading, while Design Issues and Design and Culture each relate to design cultures in distinctive ways. Beyond this small group, many of the journals in which design historians choose to publish are either design journals, more broadly defined, or journals representing the large number of neighbouring or other fields which connect in various ways with the diverse subject of design and its histories. The former group includes The Design Journal, and more specialised journals such as Interiors, Fashion Theory etc.

See the following on design journals:

Beyond design, there is a wealth of resources available to colleagues wishing to make an informed choice about which journals, or presses to publish with. Some other rankings for specific disciplines that TVAD researchers may be interested in are:

More broadly, a standard resource is the European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS). It was produced by the European Science Foundation (ESF) in 2008. It is now maintained by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data. Initially it covered the humanities only, but now it also covers the social sciences.

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature across the sciences, arts and humanities. It offers ‘CiteScore’, ‘essentially the average citations per document that a title receives over a three-year period’.

The most well-known indicator in the JCR is the Journal Impact Factor (JIF). This provides a ratio of citations to a journal in a given year to the citable items in the prior two years. Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) published by Clarivate Analytics (2017) offers a combination of impact and influence metrics from 2016 Web of Science source data covering more than 11,000 journals from 81 countries.

Eigenfactor was set up in January 2007 by Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West to use ‘recent advances in network analysis to develop novel methods for evaluating the influence of scholarly periodicals, for mapping the structure of academic research, and for helping researchers navigate the scholarly literature.’ It focuses on sciences and social sciences.

Princeton’s Wendy Laura Belcher has worked with some Princeton students on this digest of ‘Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in Humanities and the Social Sciences’ (Princeton 2017) This blog reviews more than 70 journals. Belcher recommends her own book Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (SAGE 2009) and the introduction and chapter one can be downloaded from the SAGE website.

Judgments about journal quality can directly inform perceptions of a researcher’s worth. See David Adams', Publish or Perish v. 5 (2017). Consider also this promotion document from the London School of Economics:
The information is arranged by subject area, including some interdisciplinary topics such as gender studies. The journals regarded as the best are shown for each field. The document also advises on academic publishers with some surprising results: Palgrave Macmillan may not be so closely associated with the group of university presses by everyone who expresses an opinion. Conversely, Bloomsbury Academic is a relatively new addition to the Bloomsbury publisher which may not yet have made an impression on the compilers of such lists.

Prof Grace Lees-Maffei with Dr Veronica Manlow.

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