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Purdue University Fort Wayne Faculty Writing Circle

Choosing a Journal

Stack of multicolored booksBefore you write, it is good practice to have an idea of where you plan to submit so you can develop your manuscript to meet the requirements of the publisher, journal, or website.

Some strategies for identifying where to publish:

  • Decide on your priorities; e.g. impact factor, shortest editorial time, acceptance and rejection rates, type of peer-review,intended audience, indexing in databases, reputation of the publisher.
  • Investigate journals and publishers that appear in your working bibliography.
  • Consider professional organizations' publications.
  • Look to journals you regularly read or receive table of contents from.
  • Talk with colleagues and collaborators about current and past projects and their experiences.
  • Read about publishing in your discipline.
  • Use the resources below to learn more about specific journals once identified.

Once you have identified a potential journal:

laptop with glasses sitting on the keyboard

  • Check the journal's reputation
    Be sure to document why you chose the journal to submit to.  This can be very helpful when writing your tenure case or annual review. Some information you will want to keep for each journal include things like impact factor if available, where the journal was indexed, how you discovered it, and what made you decide to publish there.

  • Read author guidelines
    Guidelines for authors can typically be found on the journal or publisher's website or in posted calls for submissions. Some journal directories, such as Cabell's, publish abbreviated author guidelines. Always check to make sure that you are using the most complete and up-to-date set of guidelines available.

  • Review samples
    Look at previously published materials from your potential publication outlet to get a feel for the type of work accepted and the quality of their end product.  If you need help tracking down issues of the journal please contact your librarian. 

Identifying Questionable Journals

Books coming out of a computer screenDiscernment between reputable, questionable, and even predatory publishers is crucial for scholarly authors deciding where to publish and for departments and other entities who are called upon to make judgments about the academic achievements of faculty members.

Predatory practices in academic publishing refer to false promises and deception perpetrated by some publishers relating to impact factor, peer review,editorial processes, revenue and marketing, or overall business practices and transparency. The label, whether predatory, deceptive, or in bad faith, is less relevant than being aware of the criteria for which to watch when judging a journal.

Open Access

Open access is a trend in academic publishing promoting unrestricted access and reuse of scholarly work.  Open access can take a variety of forms, and importantly, does not require an author to relinquish their copyright.  Publishing open access has a number of benefits to authors, including having their work more easily available and the potential for higher citation counts.  Purdue Fort Wayne does have an Open Access Policy, which the faculty senate passed in 2015.  See the links below for information about the Open Access Policy and resources for locating potential open access publications.

Alternative Publishing Outlets

These days there are more options for publishing your work than just books or journals.  New and exciting opportunities are becoming more accepted and may be a better fit for your work. The following are a few examples:

Publishing a Book

Stack of four booksDifferent academic fields have a variety of standards and precedents for the dissemination of one’s academic work, and, in some fields, scholarly book publishing is essential.  Both how and where to publish are important questions to ask as you begin the long processes of writing a book and searching for a publisher, and the process for publishing academic books can differ from that for publishing articles in journals.  The articles, blogs, and books listed below will serve as excellent starting points as you set off on your journey.

Selected Articles, Guides, and Blogs on Book Publishing:

Indexing Your Book

What is indexing?

According to the British indexing standard (BS3700:1988), an index is a systematic arrangement of entries designed to enable users to locate information in a document. The process of creating an index is called indexing, and a person who does it is called an indexer. There are many types of indexes, including website indexes, eBook indexes and periodical indexes. (

While indexing can be aided by computers, it is still necessary to have human indexers to relate concepts to one another. Computer 'indexing' is for the most part only identifying individual words within the document, rather than looking at meaning or context.  A well put together index is vital to the use and meaning of many academic texts. 

Is it better to hire an indexer or do it yourself?

That is an important question, and one only you can answer.  Indexing takes considerable time and thought, and does benefit from someone with subject area expertise.  Quality indexing can be expensive, so many authors choose to index their own material.  Others prefer to let a professional handle it for them.  Some publishers have indexers on staff, or can provide a list of recommended contractors.  The American Society for Indexers also maintains a list of indexers by subject area.

How do you index a book yourself?