A seminar ‘Publishing in international journals’ held by Dr. Oleg V. Korneev
Almost each and every researcher, irrespective of his/her academic title or position, is aware of such notions as ‘Web of Science’, ‘Scopus’, ‘Quartile’, ‘Impact-factor’, etc. All of them originate in the international practice of scientometrics but have increasingly been used as criteria for evaluation of Russian scientists’ work. It has become necessary to publish in journals that are not only indexed in international citation databases but that also meet certain status requirements. This problem is partly solved through the inclusion of Russian journals in such databases. However, there is often a need to publish abroad as well. This topic was the focus of discussion in a seminar held at the LSAR on September 28. It was given by LSAR Research Fellow Dr. Oleg Vladimirovich Korneev, Principal Investigator - GLOBALCONTEST (ANR) and Research Fellow (CERAL) at the Faculty of Law, Political, and Social Sciences, University Paris-13 (France).
He has studied in a number of European countries and worked on some international projects, thus accumulating significant experience in dealing with international journals as both an author and a reviewer. In the seminar, he described the whole publication cycle – from submission through to actual publication. In highly-rated journals, this process can take around two years.
Obviously, the first step on the road to publication is to be taken by authors themselves. Oleg Korneev stressed the importance of having a clear idea of what audience one’s article is intended for is at this stage and the importance of always keeping one’s readers in mind as the very way of writing the text is undoubtedly dependent on them. It is equally important to remember that some journals are strictly determined by their field of specialization and even by their corporate culture. Thus, even a well-written scientific article may be rejected on the grounds of thematic, paradigm-related, or methodological discrepancies with the journal’s priorities. Nevertheless, according to Oleg, it is worth submitting one’s article to top-rated journals first (if, of course, the article corresponds to the journal’s thematic profile) and then, depending on the comments from the editorial board, searching for one’s own publication niche. In this regard, Oleg Korneev also noted that one should not avoid submitting to recently established journals – these are wrongly seen as being of low quality that is not necessarily the case. But it is worth abstaining from ‘commercial’ proposals that promise to get your article published very soon – for money – in an allegedly highly-ranked journal: such a publication will most probably not have any scientific impact whatsoever.
After submission of your article to an international journal, there starts a process of ‘blind’ peer-reviewing usually taking from 2 to 4 months. For the sake of clarity, Oleg Korneev circulated some printouts of electronic forms that are to be filled in by reviewers where they provide extensive comments on submitted articles and their recommendations for improvement. Filling in these forms accounts for the better part of peer-reviewing. If there is no decision taken on one’s article during six months after submission, one should contact the editorial board in order to learn about the progress of the reviewing procedure. As the experience proves, even in highly-disciplined journals there may be some delays. But objectively speaking, the publication process is quite long, and such a scientometric indicator as citation index should not be expected to increase earlier than in two publication cycles that is in four years – says Oleg Korneev.
In the meeting, the preparation of so-called special issues was discussed in detail as well. These are periodically released by international journals and deal with specific themes or proceedings of some academic events, etc. In such a case, the editorial board is usually made up by two or three invited experts and the structure of editorial work is different. A standard algorithm here is to apply for special issues competitions organized by journals. Such applications usually would include the concept of a future special issue, abstracts of articles-to-be-published, and information about the authors. In case of success, the invited editors themselves have to find reviewers to comment on individual articles and to review the final version of the special issue as a whole. These nuances can influence the duration of a publication cycle.
Finally, when dealing with international journals, and upon release of your article, it is necessary to consider the financial and legal aspects of your relationship with the journal that from that moment starts to hold the copyright in your article (however, that is only possible upon written consent provided by the author after his/her article is accepted for publication). Oleg Korneev stressed that publishing in high-quality journals is always free but the access to the already published article and further circulation of it may well be restricted through paid subscription. Thus, if authors are interested in reaching out to their reader and seek to ensure an open access to their work, they should be prepared to bear the cost of so-called ‘green’ and ‘gold’ open access service that allows download online articles from the journal’s website free of charge. Authors should also in advance settle the issue that may arise after the article is out, namely, publishing this material of theirs in other printed sources (e.g., in monographs or elsewhere).
These were the main questions raised and discussed during the seminar. It should be said that Oleg Korneev’s recommendations as to how to communicate with international journals are equally true of Russian journals. We hope this information will help our researchers to better organize their publishing activity and get published in whatever journal they choose to.