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University of Washington Health Sciences Library

Writer's Guide

Collection of resources to support writing in the health sciences.

Nuts & Bolts of Scholarly Publishing

The UW Libraries' Nuts & Bolts of Scholarly Publishing provides everything you need to get started selecting journals for publication and reviewing author's agreements. It is intended for anyone in the university community who is interested in learning more about scholarly publishing, with information, guidance, and links to resources on:

  • Evaluating Academic Journals:
    • Fit: Determining whether a journal is a good fit for your research;
    • Impact: Assessing the impact of a journal, including citation-based impact factors, altmetrics, and the impact of open access journals;
    • Quality: Considering how a journal relates to standards in the scholarly community, including avoiding deceptive practices.
  • Journal Contracts and Copyright:

Finding journals by topic

Use databases and resources that provide information about journals to identify some titles that match your topic.

  • Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory  provides descriptive information about in and out-of print journals.  Search the subject field using keywords to find matching journals.  Click on the journal title in the results display to see more details such as whether or not they are Refereed and in which databases they are indexed.
  • Use JournalGuide and/or Jane (Journal/Author Name Estimator) to find journals (or authors or articles) that match your topic.
  • Use the Match feature in EndNote Basic (a free account with UW access) to suggest matching journals based on your manuscript title, abstract, or references in your library. A guide about using EndNote Basic is also available.

Use databases that provide some evaluative component about individual journals.

  • Journal Citation Reports (InCites)  is part of our Web of Knowledge database package which also includes Web of Science.  Use InCites to view journals by predefined subject categories.  You may choose to view the results in varying options including in order of Impact Factor. 
  • Eigenfactor is a UW endeavor that also provides ranking of journals by subject category.
  • SJR (SCImago Journal & Country Rank) is a free portal providing information on journal rankings based on the Scopus database.

For a more detailed discussion of Journal Citation Reports and Eigenfactor, see the Health Sciences Library (HSL) guide on Impact Factors.

Where do others publish?

Use databases to find where others publish articles similar to yours.

  • run a search of known authors in your field in a database such as PubMed and scan the journal titles in the results

Use databases such as PubMed to see where articles matching your topic tend to be published.

  •   run a search of your topic in a database such as PubMed and scan the journal titles in the results
  •   run a search of your topic in Web of Science  and click on Source Titles in the Refine Results options to view the number of results broken down by journal

Additional considerations

Avoid disreputable and identify reputable journals 

Use free databases to find information about a journal's position on open access.

  • SHERPA/RoMEO database - search to find permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement 

Use online lists of journals categorized by the way they address NIH Public Access Policy requirements.

  • NIH list of journals that automatically deposit relevant final published articles in PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy (Method A Journals)
  • NIH list of journals that deposit relevant final published articles in PubMed Central in compliance with the NIH Public Access only upon author request (Method B Journals)
  • NIH list of publishers that deposit relevant final peer-reviewed manuscripts in the NIH Manuscript Submission system when the publisher determines the article is under NIH Open Access Policy (Method D Publishers)
  • Publisher Policies on NIH-funded Authors from Simmons University


Scholarly publishing in health sciences

For help with NIH guidelines, copyright and more, check out the resources listed below.

Planning your project

Consult relevant literature on how to plan effectively.

Here are some useful examples:


UW Author Discounts for Open Access Publishing

Because of UW Libraries' memberships in BioMed Central, SpringerOpen, and MDPI, UW authors receive discounts for publishing in these venues.

Directions for BioMed Central and SpringerOpen:

  • Within the UW IP range: when you submit a manuscript, the discount will be automatically applied.
  • Outside the UW IP range: when you submit a manuscript, select the option "I believe that I am covered by an institutional membership arrangement" on the APC Agreement page.  Then select "University of Washington" from the institution drop-down list.

Directions for MDPI:

  • In the last step of submission, authors are prompted to determine if they are eligible for discounts under the Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP).
  • Within the UW network IP range, the IOAP is pre-selected
  • Outside the UW IP range, select University of Washington from the Institutional drop-down menu.
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