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Information Literacy Skills for Research (Engineering): Academic Publishing


Academic publishing encompasses various aspect of publishing process, e.g. complying with research regulations, academic writing, selecting journals to publish, evaluating journals, and understanding your rights as an author.

To learn more, refer to Scholarly Communication guide

Selecting or shortlisting journals for publications

Step 1: Start the search by creating a pool of potential journals.

You can do so by: 

  • Referring to the journals referenced in the bibliography of key papers in your field 
  • Looking at your manuscript's references to see where the articles you have cited were published
  • Consulting your research network (i.e. supervisors, mentors, seniors or colleagues)
  • Searching in journal finders or recommenders using major keywords from your manuscript
  • Performing a topical search in databases to identify potential journals for your manuscript

Step 2: Narrow down to a handful of suitable journals and compare them.

Below are some of the most important criteria to keep in mind when choosing a journal that is a good match for your research.

  • What are the aims and scope of the journal?

    Look for sections titled “About the Journal,"Aims and Scope", or something similar on the journal homepage. This will let you know the aims of the journals, who reads the journal and if your research is a good match for the journal.

  • Has the journal published articles that are similar to yours?

    ‚ÄčPerform a search in the journal based on the keywords used in your manuscript to determine whether the journal has published work that is similar to yours. Find articles published within the last 3 - 5 years and try to determine whether these papers are similar to yours in quality and scope. You can also look at what are the recent special issues or editorials to identify the journal editor's interest. Matching your article's content and what the journal is looking for will increase your chances of review.

  • Do you want to publish Open Access (OA)? 
    Are you required by your grant funder to publish in an OA journal? Does your journal offer the traditional, OA or hybrid publishing avenues? Publishing OA in journals generally will involve authors paying some kind of Article Processing Charges! The OA policies, requirements and charges can all be found on  the journal's website. Read more about Open Access and some of our NUS Libraries initiatives for NUS authors:

  • What are the journal’s restrictions?

    In the journal's homepage, look for sections titled “Information for Authors” or Editorial policies section of your journal to determine the journal’s restrictions. Certain restrictions such as publication type, word count, methodology, referencing styles or publication costs are common restrictions that authors may consider. Another important consideration could be the time it takes from acceptance to publication, or even the publication frequency of the journal.

  • What are the journal’s metrics?

    The validity of the Journal Impact Factor or other journal metrics (e.g. CiteScore, SJR, SNIP) as a measure for journal quality is controversial. Nevertheless, they remain the default method for determining the quality and reputation of a journal. Although it is tempting to submit a manuscript to the journal with the highest journal metrics, it is important to objectively evaluate your research and determine whether it is truly suitable for a top-tier journal. Otherwise, you will risk valuable time and effort resubmitting (and reformatting) your manuscript multiple times for multiple journals. To learn more about journal metrics, visit our Research Impact guide.

Adapted from: American Journal Experts 


Other than comparing journals, some authors prefer to use evaluative checklists to identify the best journal. Checklists like Think. Check. Submit could be useful to help evaluate journals or even identify potentially predatory journals. You may refer to our guide on checklists here.

Open Access

"Making research results more accessible contributes to better and more efficient science, and to innovation in the public and private sectors."     ~ European Commission, Horizon2020

There are several reasons why it is advantageous to publish OA;

  1. It improves the visibility of your work as it can be read by everyone, even the public
  2. Allows you to share your work quickly via multiple channels
  3. Allows you to retain your author's rights to your research publications by using creative commons licenses

In the Singaporean context, several funding bodies (e.g. MOE Tier 2 and 3, NRF Competitive Research Programme and ASTAR, NMRC etc.) require grant holders to make their publications accessible in some way within 12 months of publication.

OA options are changing rapidly. At present, there are several main modes to make your publications OA:

  • "Gold" OA route in full OA or hybrid journals - This ensures that your article becomes open access immediately on publication. Very often, an article processing charge (APC) is paid to the publisher, which is why this is also commonly known as the 'author-pays' model. Gold OA is available to full open access journals, as well as for hybrid journals offering both open access and subscription-only publishing models.
    • "Diamond" OA route - This is a relatively new pathway where "diamond" journals or platforms are fully open access but do not charge any author-related APCs. These journals are often funded by libraries, organisations, societies, or publishers.
  • "Green" OA route after publishing in subscription journals - This involves publishing in a subscription journal and then making a version of your article (i.e. preprint, postprint, and/or published PDF) available through a repository such as the institutional repository, ScholarBank@NUS. You may be required to deposit after an embargo period of up to a year. To find out more information, please check Sherpa Romeo for journal OA and copyright options. 

A fantastic resource that you could use to check a journal's OA status and details is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Another great resource to check the copyright and open access archival policies of journals is Sherpa Romeo.

NOTE: Do check the type of journal that you are publishing in and whether it requires an APCs before submitting your manuscript to the journal. You do not want to be in the situation where you have unknowingly submitted your article to a full OA journal but do not have the funds to pay the APCs when your article has been accepted. Publication fees or APCs are generally classified under fundable items by most research grants, so please perform some due diligence when selecting journals. Refer to our journal selection guide for more tips.


ScholarBank@NUS is the digital institutional repository (IR) of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Its goals are to collect, archive, preserve, showcase and provide online access to the research output of NUS to the world, and through this, maximise the research visibility, usage and impact of NUS researchers' works and demonstrate the University's research excellence.

ScholarBank@NUS contains a range of scholarly works with different levels of access but its primary objective is to facilitate open access to the University's research publications. The repository also serves as a provision for NUS researchers to adhere to and fulfil open access mandates imposed by funding agencies. Content in the repository will remain accessible in perpetuity.

To see our policies and guidelines regarding submission of your scholarly work, please see here.

If you have any queries about the institutional repository, please contact the ScholarBank@NUS team.

ScholarBank@NUS has also recently been upgraded to accept research data underpinning published research findings by NUS authors. Learn more through this video here!