VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Prepare for Promotion and Tenure

What about Open Access Journals?

Open access journals allow anyone to read the articles, without charge. Open access allows a wider audience to read articles than toll access. Articles that are available without charge tend to be more highly cited than articles with closed access.1

Look at the quality of the journal first. Some high-quality open access journals have built strong reputations for high-quality articles. VCU even subsidizes the publication fees that some open access publishers charge.2  Some open access journals have built reputations for minimal peer review and high charges for publication.

Many subscription journals allow you to post some version of the article on your own Web site or in an open access repository.3 If the best journals for your article aren't open access, see if you can do post an open-access copy in VCU's Schoolars Compass to increase your readership.4

For more information

Find the Right Journal

Even if a journal is ranked at the top of a list or has a high rejection rate, it may not be the best journal for your paper. The content of your paper should be similar to the kinds of things that the journal publishes. In the course of your research, you likely already are developing your own opinions about the quality and relevance of journals in your particular research area, these opinions can help you narrow down which journals to consider for your paper.

Some things to consider when looking for the best journal that's appropriate for the content of your paper include... 

  • What journals are you reading and citing?
  • Who is the editor of the journal? Who is on the editorial board? Where do they work? What are their reputations? 
  • Who has written articles in the journal recently? What are their reputations? Are the articles relevant and good?

Information about Journals

The following databases will help you explore your options. You may also find rankings of journals published as articles in journals and association newsletters.

Choose an Academic Book Publisher

Outside of a handful of well-known university presses (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and University of Chicago), the reputations of publishers will vary depending on the subject area. Small university presses can develop strong reputations for particular subject areas, even though they are not well-known in other areas. Look at the publishers of what you read in your discipline and ask other scholars for suggestions. 

Occasionally articles rank academic presses in a particular field, so it doesn't hurt to check if a list exists. Such lists give you a rough idea of the reputations of presses in that field, but they are not absolute. For example, a recent survey of political scientists gave somewhat different rankings from an earlier survey of librarians, and both gave somewhat different rankings from earlier surveys of political scientists.

Non-Academic Publications

For many kinds of research, especially community-engaged research, academic publications are not sufficient to achieve the goals of a research project. The type of publication that is appropriate depends largely on the goals of the project, the intended audience and the kinds of publications that they will use.  

A Faculty Learning Community at VCU, including Hillary Miller at VCU Libraries, developed the template below to plan this type of research dissemination. 

  1. What kinds of research findings do you want to share (data, videos, images, etc.)?
    1. Does your research contain sensitive or protected data? Will you need to place conditions or restrictions on the recipient? Which parts of your research are you allowing your recipient to use for publication?
  2. With whom will you share your research findings?
    1. How will you share with other academic researchers, and how will you share with any community members involved in the research?
    2. How will you share with other end users and stakeholders for your research?
  3. What does utilization of your research look like for each of these audiences? Or, what are the outcomes you want your research to produce?
  4. Who are your potential dissemination partners?
    1. What are your shared mission or goals?
    2. How can you build relationships with these partners?
  5. What resources are available for dissemination (people, fundings, skills, etc.)?
  6. What methods will you use to share your research findings?
    1. Face-to-face or online?
    2. How will you “package” your research for different audiences?
    3. Where and how do each of your audiences get their information?
  7. What are potential barriers to dissemination and utilization of your research for other researchers, and for the other end users and stakeholders, and how will you address them?
    1. What potential difficulties are there in communicating with your audiences? For example, do they see you as a trusted source of information? Are there barriers to their receiving or finding your research or to their ability to utilize it?
  8. How will you evaluate the dissemination and utilization of your research?
    1. How will you know/measure success? Impact on researchers? Impact for community?
    2. What kind of indicators or assessment measures can you use?
  9. How will you ensure the sustainability of your project’s impact over time?
    1. Is your dissemination an ongoing conversation? For how long will you continue to share information, and are you concerned about sustainability of your project outcomes?
  10. How will you execute this plan?
    1. What actions and strategies will you take to disseminate your research?
    2. When and how frequently will you share your data and findings, including preliminary findings, your research process and methodology, and any lessons learned? When is it most valuable for each of your audiences to receive your research findings?
    3. Who is responsible for each step in your plan?