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Research Guides

Scholarly Publishing and Current Awareness

Supports the course by the same name in the Graduate Professional Skills Program on the St. George campus.

What do editors want?

Muir-Cochrane, E. (2013). What do journal editors want? … and everything you wanted to know about the peer review process for journal publication. Nursing & Health Sciences, 15(3), 263–4. doi:10.1111/nhs.12092

Jorge, J. (2014). [Editor at Computer & Graphics journal]. Top 10 ways to get your paper rejected - largely addresses writing issues

Peer review

Peer review and Open peer review (Wikipedia)

Haggerty, K.D. (2012). How to write an anonymous peer reviewChronicle of HIgher Education.

Mandavilli, A. (2011). Peer review: Trial by Twitter.  Nature, 469, 286-28. doi:10.1038/469286a

Mckenzie, F. (2009). The art of responding to peer reviews.

Showell, C. The final hurdle: Persuasive responses to peer review


Journal selection

"In choosing a journal, you are actually choosing a community of researchers, writers and and readers (a discourse community), so you need to think about

  • which discourse communities you are already in - which journals did you use most in your PhD?
  • which discourse communities you really want to read your work. If this is not the same as the first answer, then you have a substantial bit of research to do in order to find out where these discourse communities publish."

Pat Thomson, Writing from the PhD thesis - the publishing plan (blog post)


Other factors to consider

  • Fit between what you've written/want to write and the journal
    • Topic
    • Methodology
    • Length
    • Tone/style
    • Journal guidelines
  • Time from submission to publication


Hopwood, N. (2014). A guide for choosing journals for academic publication

Knight, L.V. & Steinback, T.A. (2008). Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet: A Comprehensive Model of Journal Selection Criteria for Researchers in a Broad Range of Academic Disciplines

What is Open Access?

"Open access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g., access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions).Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference paperstheses, book chapters, and monographs Wikipedia


Underlying principle

"Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge" Budapest Open Access Initiative


How is Open Access Achieved? 

Gold OA

Publication in an online, peer-reviewed OA journals, which allows immediate access to users free of charge. An OA journal may or may not charge a publishing fee - this is usually paid for by the author, author's employer, or the funding agency supporting this research. This fee is referred to as article processing charges (APCs). Thirty to fifty per cent of OA journals require the author to pay a publication fee to help defray publishing costs.

Traditional publishers can offer open access options: Elsevier

There are also many open access publishers: Public Library of Science (PLOS)

To find more open access journals visit: 

Check journals in your discipline using the Subjects filter (on the left side) in Advanced search.


Green OA

Author self-archiving of scholarly materials in an OA repository. This can either an institutional repository maintained by a research institution (e.g. U of T's TSpace) or a subject repository (e.g. arXiv). Green OA endorses immediate open access self-archiving, but many non-OA publishers often have restrictions on the version you can deposit and when the item can be deposited (check for an embargo period).

Many of these journals allow for self-archiving of pre-prints (paper before peer-review) and post-prints (paper after peer-review revisions, but before published version of an article).

Check your journal here:

Find out more about open access support at the University of Toronto Libraries 


Barriers and tensions

  • Academic culture, e.g. tenure and promotion policies, concerns with prestige and impact
  • Commercial publishing models


OA mandates & policies

Governments, institutions and funding bodies may have OA mandates (OA is required) or guidelines. 

SHERPA/JULIET can help you find funders' Open Access policies

Tri-Agency Open Access Policy 

  •  CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC grant recipients must ensure that peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication.
  • Learn how to comply with this policy 

Other examples

Open Access explained! (9 min video from PhD Comics)

Open Access content

Open Access content can be found in many different locations. 


  • Google Scholar - Searches online repositories and other web sites, as well as scholarly databases.
  • DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • PubMed Open Access Subset
  • BASE - searches over 33 million documents at 2100+ sites.
  • OAIster - "millions of digital resources from thousands of contributors"
  • JURN - indexes free journals in the arts & humanities
  • OpenDOAR - Directory of Open Access Respositories. Allows you to find repositories and to search repository contents.




New forms of scholarly publishing

Academic blogging

Hartley, J. (2013) Three strikes and a blog: What to do with papers that are continually rejected

Dunleavy, P. (2015) How to write a blogpost from your journal article

Daniels, J. (2013). From tweet to blog post to peer-reviewed article: How to be a scholar now (read the last sentence if nothing else)

Hybrid forms - examples:

Further information on publishing

American Psychological Association. (2013). A graduate student's guide to determining authorship credit and authorship order.

  • Includes an authorship contract. "Caveat... It is important to know that other fields may have different authorship cultures."

Germano, W. (2005) From dissertation to book.


Academic writing

English Language & Writing Support (SGS)

As well, the University of Toronto Libraries have many books on academic writing and authorship. 

Suggested search terms:

  • Academic writing
  • [Discipline] Academic authorship
  • Scholarly publishing
  • Peer review