Dr. Paul Taylor is a Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum and the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Systematic Paleontology, published by Taylor & Francis on behalf of the Natural History Museum, London. The journal has a 2015 Impact Factor score of 3.143 and is ranked 2nd in the Web of Science’s Paleontology journals list. We asked Dr Taylor to share his experience and advice on the best ways to attract high quality content to your journal.
All journals strive to improve the quality of the papers they publish. But how can this be achieved? Journals need to find positive ways to entice high quality submissions. A journal combining a high profile with an academic reputation to match will normally attract submissions from the authors of outstanding papers.
Reputation is everything
The reputation of a journal depends on several factors that will vary in their relative importance from one field to another.
- High editorial standards are often near the top of the list. All authors want their papers to be handled promptly and with thoroughness, expertise and empathy. Moreover, rapid processing of submissions reduces delays in what can be a protracted publication process.
- The use of appropriate reviewers who are acknowledged experts in their field, and an editorial board consisting of internationally respected scholars, are both factors that may help to persuade authors to submit their best papers to the journal.
- Inevitably, successful journals will be compelled to reject otherwise publishable submissions if they are out of scope. In these cases, it is particularly important to handle rejection in such a way that authors do not feel aggrieved, become discouraged from submitting to the journal in the future, or are vociferous in their criticism of the journal to their peers. Disgruntled authors will not submit future papers.
Be mindful of metrics
Impact Factor (IF) and other bibliometrics are nowadays a major concern in the world of publishing.
- The IF of the journal is often extremely influential when authors are deciding about where to submit their work, which is understandable given that publication in journals with a high IF can be critical to the career progression of the author. Therefore, it goes without saying that achieving a high IF can be important when looking to attract quality content.
- That said, focusing on the Impact Factor can mean a preference for papers with a specific type of impact. Many important papers may not cite within the Impact Factor “window” for a variety of reasons. Using a range of metrics to measure journal success ensures that a truer picture is captured.
The power of media
Social media has become a very potent weapon in the arsenal available for increasing the visibility of a journal. It is well known that social media has an appreciable effect on the number of downloads.
- Building up a large following on Twitter or Facebook can be achieved by making attention-grabbing announcements of newly published papers and journal developments and initiatives. The use of catchy headlines and attractive Illustrations is helpful here.
- Blogs and press releases can also be linked through social media to enhance further the visibility of the journal. Press releases can be a powerful means of drawing attention to new articles, particularly when the release is carefully coordinated between the journal’s publisher and author’s institute for maximum exposure.
Make yourself visible
Finally, networking by editors and publishers not only increases the visibility of a journal, but also provides opportunities to solicit submissions in person from presenters of outstanding talks. Networking can take a number of forms:
- Attending conferences related to your field is a great way to publicise your journal, meet potential authors and reviewers, and build your own reputation as an Editor and researcher.
- Creating a social media presence can also be useful, and allows you the opportunity to connect with other Editors all over the world, which is not always possible to do through conferences and events alone.
- LinkedIn is a particularly useful social media platform for this. Think of it as the Facebook for professionals; it is replacing the traditional business card, making it not only easier for people to connect, but to also strengthen and maintain community links.