12 Questions to ask, for basic clues on the quality of a journal

When choosing where to publish a journal article, what signs do you look out for? Here are some questions to ask or aspects to investigate, for clues.

1 – Is it peer reviewed? (Y/N and every nuance in between) See the journal’s website.
2- Who is involved in it? The editor & publisher? Are they well known & well thought of? Who has published articles there already: are these big players in your field? Read the journal!
3- Is it abstracted/indexed by one of the big sources in your field? (The journal’s website should tell you this. Big publishers also offer their own databases of house journals)
4- What happens when you search on Google for an article from the journal? Do you get the article in the top few results? And on GScholar?
5- Does it appear in Web of Science or Scopus journal rankings?
6- Take a look on COPAC: which big research libraries subscribe?
7- have a look at the UK’s published RAE2008 / forthcoming REF2014 data and see if articles from that journal were a part of the evidence submitted, and rated as 4*
8- Do the journal articles have DOIs? This is a really useful feature for promotion of your article, and it will mean that altmetric tools can provide you with evidence of engagement with your article.
9- Is there an open access option? (See SherpaRomeo) This is a requirement of many research funders, but it is also useful for you, when you want to promote your article.
10- Is it on the list of predatory OA journals? You might want to avoid those, although check for yourself. Note that some journals on the list are disputed/defended against the accusation of predation!
11- Is it listed on the ISSN centre’s ROAD: http://road.issn.org/ What does this tell you about it?
12- If you have access through a library subscription, is it listed on Ulrich’s periodicals directory? What does this tell you about it? Note the “peer review” symbol of a striped referee’s shirt: if the shirt is not there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the journal is not peer reviewed: you may have to investigate further.
FURTHER NUANCES…
– What type of peer review is used? Is it rigorous? Is it useful to you, even if you get rejected?
– Time to rejection/acceptance: how soon do you need to be published?
– Acceptance/rejection rate
– Journal Impact Factor/ SJR score(s) /quartile for the field

3 time-saving, tidy-up tips

Here are three ways you can invest a little time to save it in the long run, based on things I found were wasting my time:

1) Wake up your computer faster by clearing your desktop! Apparently it helps your computer to boot up faster if you have no documents & only short-cuts on your desktop. Wikihow has lots of tips on how to make your computer run faster, but just keeping files in order and off the desktop is relatively quick and easy to do. In any case, it gives me a lovely sense of order to have very little on my desktop, and tidiness generally saves me time looking for stuff. Or should I really say “organised messiness”?!

2) Back-up phone contacts and only leave the people on your phone who you know you’re going to call. (A quick Google search will reveal how to do this, for your phone.) I used to have at least 20 people under each letter of the alphabet, regularly causing me to waste time scrolling through all those names when searching for the people who I wanted to call! I can always look up old contacts in my back-up, if I really need to.

3) Be efficient with passwords: find a system that works for you! I lose count of the times I’ve had to fill out those “lost password” boxes and then wait for the password to arrive in my inbox. Sometimes, whilst waiting, I got distracted and the link in my inbox timed out and I had to start all over again… now I have a system that works (please forgive me for not sharing it!), it saves me from frustration, as well as time!

What could you do, to save yourself time in the long run?

Making research collaborations: building relationships

I’m going to be editing and writing for Piirus in the very near future: it’ll be good to work with blog correspondents like Ian, who wrote this great piece on building research relationships.

— Blog

In last week’s blog we focused on how to make initial research connections. This week we look at both why and how to expand on these initial contacts.

Why would I want to put time and effort into building these research relationships?

  • These research relationships may open up opportunities such as future employment, extra research funding and additional journal article authorships.
  • They may also lead to an increased presence of your research on an international stage by association.
  • The collaborator and associated groups are more likely to cite your previous journal articles, again raising your standing in the field.
  • By building the relationship knowledge can be transferred in both directions, and so can staff and students!
  • It also gives the opportunity to reflect on your own research strengths and what areas you wish to explore next.

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7 Reasons why I like working from home

Of course there are both pluses and minuses and sometimes these are two sides of the same coin, but this post is a quick and simple list of the positives that I’ve found.

  1. Zero time spent commuting: I can get stuck straight in!
  2. It’s mostly peaceful, so I can really concentrate.
  3. Less money spent on food & drink ‘cos I make it for myself.
  4. I get a proper cup of tea : in Germany, it’s impossible for me to get a British cuppa whilst out and about!
  5. It’s fexible: I choose when to work and when to break, thoughout the whole day and not just 9-5.
  6. I can accomplish household chores in my breaks. Although I can’t put the washing machine on if I’m expecting a call or I need to concentrate!
  7. I can work in my sloppiest clothes if I want to…