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EG5911R Information Literacy Skills for Research (Engineering): Publishing


  1. Journal selection
  2. Research metrics
  3. ORCID iD
  4. ScholarBank@NUS

How to select a journal to publish in

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 where the articles you have cited were published
  • Consulting your research network (i.e. supervisors, mentors, seniors or colleagues)
  • Searching in journal finders using major keywords from your manuscript

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

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?

    This information is usually readily available on the journal’s homepage. Look for a section titled “About the Journal,” “Full Aims and Scope,” or something similar. Browsing through this page will provide you with key information about whether your research might be a good match for the journal. 

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

    Once you have identified a few journals that might be likely to publish your manuscript based on their broad aims and scope, consider performing a search with the keywords (or title) of your manuscript to determine whether the journal has published work that is similar to yours. You may search in journal finders (see below) or academic databases. Aim to identify 3-5 papers published within the last 5 years and try to determine whether these papers are similar to yours in quality and scope. Identifying previously published papers in your specific subject area is excellent evidence that your research topic is of interest to the audience of a particular journal, which will increase your chances of review. 

  • Are you publishing research data? 
    You can consider data journals as an option. Being one of the emerging publishing channels, data journals not only serve as a platform to exhibit datasets publicly and internationally, it also enables researchers to share their research data output more easily.

  • Do you want to publish open access? 
    If so, you may refer to the list of journals or publishers under Open Access section to guide you. 

  • What are the journal’s restrictions?

    Submission to a journal that does not accept the type of article you’ve written is a surefire way to be rejected immediately. For example, some journals, such as the British Journal of Surgery, do not publish case reports. Thus, it is essential to check the “Information for Authors” section of your target journal to determine the journal’s restrictions. It is also important to note restrictions related to word count. For example, if your manuscript is 7,000 words and the journal accepts papers no longer than 4000 words, a substantial revision will obviously be required. ​The cost of publication can also be viewed as a restriction, as some journals charge very high article processing fees. Fees can also charged for open access, additional pages beyond a certain limit, or color figures.

  • 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.

Adapted from: American Journal Experts 

How to use research metrics

Why measure research?

Research impact is often measured using popular quantitative tools such as citation counts, the h-index and journal impact factors. 

  • Measuring the value or impact of research is increasingly important particularly if the research has been funded with public money.
  • Research institutions are able to identify the research strengths as well as the areas for improvement through quantitative analysis of research.
  • When competing for funding and career opportunities, researchers may need to produce evidence of their research impact.

This guide brings together resources commonly used to measure scholarly impact using both traditional metrics, such as journal impact factor and h-index, and alternative metrics (Altmetrics)

Most of the  resources covered here focus on citation analysis, a quantifiable measure of academic output and research impact. The quantitative results obtained can help you in making informed decisions on the following:

  • Prepare your dossier for promotion and tenure appointments, performance appraisal and grant applications.
  • Find out if your research has been further developed through identifying researchers who have cited your works
  • Identify potential collaborators
  • Publish your next research in high impact sources for increased research visibility.

Demonstrate impact via Citation Analysis

Citation analysis is a quantitative method whereby important and essential literature of a field can be identified on the basis of how often a publication is cited in other publications. However, there are limitations in using citations as an indicator for measuring research impact (see Limitations tab)

Citation Metrics (often referred to as Bibliometrics) serve as an indication of the interest in and importance of research publications within the scholarly community:

  1. Article-level metrics
  2. Author-level metrics
  3. Journal-level metrics

More on the above metrics will be covered in the next section under MeasureImpact .

Limitations of citation counts 

  • Citations tend to measure popularity rather than quality
    • Individual citations are always a researcher's subjective choice, which can be affected by many factors other than the quality of the article.
    • Citations of an article reveal the positive or negative attention it has received rather than indicate its quality.
  • Citation counts favour mainstream research and established paradigms
    • While research that challenges prevailing thought is not necessarily noticed straight away. Indeed, many important scientific breakthroughs have not been noticed until decades after their publication. Meanwhile some research results giving rise to criticism, or even proven to be wrong, may receive a great number of citations.
  • The contents of different databases concentrate on different things: journals, books, conference proceedings and other literature. 
    • Databases normally contain citation information only on the journals they carry. The number of citations is also dependent on how long a time span for citations is covered by the database, and how often the citation information is up-dated in the database.
    • Citation information of all databases also contains some errors; citations might be missing or they might have been registered twice. The contents of all databases also changes continuously; database service providers include new journals in their collection and remove ones they have previously held, while they may up-date citation information also from older publications.
  • Different disciplines have different citing behavior and patterns.
    Hence the retrieved data needs to be normalized or adjusted to take into account differences between disciplines.
  • Different citation databases produce different figures which should be used with caution, especially when comparing across disciplines.


To distinguish your research from others, you might want to create a researcher profile and maintain an author identity. There are several benefits of adopting author identifier, such as ORCID iD.

  Benefits of  ORDiD @ NUS 

  • Major funding agencies (NRF, MOE, ASTAR, NMRC, etc) are requiring PIs to include their ORCID IDs and some publishers are requiring ORCID IDs for manuscript submission.
  • Employers or professional associations can use ORCID for purposes of hiring and membership recruitment.
  • Organizations and universities are starting to use their faculty's ORCID identifiers to showcase the research that they do.
  • ORCID is indexed by Google Scholar.
  • You can also associate it with other author systems used in key databases Web of Science (ResearcherID) and Scopus (Scopus Author Identifier).

​ To learn more about ORCID, refer to the ORCID guide.