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GR ST 536: Preparing Publishable Thesis Chapters

Support for graduate students looking for a journal to publish their work.

Start Evaluating!

Submitting a manuscript to an unsuitable journal is a common mistake. It can be frustrating and time-consuming when a paper is not accepted for publication. It is worthwhile to spend some time finding the right journal for your work.

When choosing a journal, consider the following:

  • Scope & Fit
  • Peer Review Process
  • Transparency
  • Availability/Reach
  • Cost to Publish

Evaluate Scope & Fit

If you have a journal you're interested in, look for the Information for Authors section on the journal's website. Most journals place this information prominently to guide prospective authors to place their manuscripts with the journal and to follow publication directions in terms of style, subject scope, citation style, and how to submit. 

Here are some examples from a journal called Future Cities and Environment:

First, a statement about who they are, their history, and what types of subjects they publish:

Screenshot reads: "Future Cities and Environment publishes high quality multi-disciplinary research which aims to reduce the environmental impact of cities. Considering research in the areas of transport, urban planning, architecture and design, and energy and infrastructure, it publishes fundamental and applied research, critical reviews and case studies. This includes experimental development, demonstration and computer modelling."

This information shows the journal's scope. In other words, does your topic fit in with what the journal typically publishes? 

Evaluate Reach with Ulrichsweb

Okay, now that you've got some journals in mind, you need to find quick facts about them, such as:​

  • How long has the journal been around?
  • What topics do they publish? 
  • Where are they indexed?

Evaluate Peer Review and More!

While you are on the Information for Authors page, you can also find an overview of their peer review process and other guidelines:

Screenshot: Peer review process for "Future Cities and Environment"

Understanding how review works for the journal is important because, as an author, you'll need to know how your work will be evaluated.

Submission Guidelines

Finally, review your journal's submission guidelines, such as paper formatting regulations and preferred citation style. The more you fit your manuscript to the journal's specifications before submission, the better your chances for sailing through the review and acceptance process!

Cost to Publish

Some journals require page fees, fees for illustrations or color figures, and more! Before submitting your article for publication, check the journal's guidelines page for information about fees that might be required. 

For example, some (but not all) Open Access journals charge publication fees so that your article can be free for anyone to read after it is published.  is to make scholarly information available to readers for free. Luckily, ISU has agreements in place with some publishers to cover this cost. Check out our website for more information:

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Abbey Elder