With a proliferation of online content, journals have an important role in promoting and safeguarding the quality of academic research outputs and, on an individual level, supporting authors to promote their work to the widest possible audience. Once an article has been accepted by the editor it is passed to a dedicated production editor at the publisher who will manage the article through the publication process.
A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is assigned to the article (see Preparing an article for publication). The article is copyedited, formatted, paginated and article metadata and identifiers are added; metadata is a crucial extra layer of information describing each article published online. The DOI allows articles to be correctly identified by online browsers and other library systems, and ensures the correct cataloguing of articles is archived in perpetuity. In addition, hyperlinked references allow readers to click through to referenced articles on other publisher sites (through CrossRef).
Proofs (usually PDF files) are then checked by the publisher (or a freelance proof reader), author and sometimes the editor. Once all changes have been made to the proof, it can be published online and/or in print. In most cases publishers aim to publish individual articles as and when they are ready, rather than waiting for a full issue to be compiled. This increases the window in which your article can be read and receive citations as it will be citable via its DOI as soon as it is published online.
Publishers strive for the widest possible dissemination of the articles they publish. As well as traditional subscription based sales channels and Open Access publishing this includes: links with indexing and abstracting services; optimisation of journal webpages for discoverability by search engines such as Google and Google Scholar (see also Help readers find your publications); promotion of individual articles, for example via conferences and social media.
In addition to traditional subscriptions, journal articles are provided to the global South via philanthropic initiatives such as Research4Life, which provides developing countries with free or low cost online access to journal articles. At the same time, publishers work with national agencies to provide archival copies of articles; and provide protection against the misuse of authors’ work through their rights and permissions teams.
Methods used for further promoting authors’ articles also include: Subject community apps (for example Wiley’s Geography Spotlight App; Press release; Virtual Issues; Supplementary materials; Teaching and learning guides; Discussion forums, including blogs, editor/reviewer commentaries.
Some publishers have also developed online “author toolkits” to support researchers in promoting their work. These often include advice and guidance about how to optimise your article for search engines, promote your paper online and via social media, promote a newsworthy piece of research, and information about ways to share your article with peers. Access to services such as Altmetrics and Kudos are also provided by some publishers to help authors highlight the relevance of their work across communities, and track its impact by download, citation and altmetrics.
- Create a short summary of your work, include your key findings and write it in a way that will be accessible for a wider audience.
- Publish a post about your article to your/departmental/research group blog. If you have published in a RGS-IBG journal, submit a post to Geography Directions.
- Tweet about your paper through your own account or through a Society or department account if possible.
- Contact your department’s press office to see if your article is relevant for any publicity opportunities – do this when the paper has been accepted for publication.
- Talk about your paper at a conference, with colleagues and personally raise awareness, include a link in your email signature.
- Create an account on an academic network (e.g. ResearchGate, Academia. edu, Mendeley), to highlight your work to thousands of fellow academics
- Use services such as Kudos to highlight the relevance of your work, share through email and social media, and measure downloads, citations and altmetrics.
About this guide
Publishing is a crucial, but sometimes daunting and unexplained, part of academic life. All academic geographers are supposed to do it, but there are few formal guidelines about how best it should be done. Many of us discover how to publish by trial and error or through the mentoring and support of colleagues. Publishing and academic landscapes also change, presenting new challenges to established academics. The publishing and getting read guides have four main aims: to provide clear, practical and constructive advice about how to publish research in a wide range of forms; to encourage you to think strategically about your publication profile and plans; to set out some of the opportunities and responsibilities you have as an author; and to support you in getting your published research read.