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Successful Publishing Strategies for Authors

NRC Research Press is Canada's foremost scientific and engineering publisher. The Press, part of NRC's Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, has been publishing scholarly journals since 1929. We currently publish 16 peer-reviewed journals and peer-reviewed monographs.

Our editors and reviewers receive thousands of Canadian and international submissions each year. In view of this kind of interest within the scientific and engineering communities, we are happy to provide the following useful strategies to prospective authors.

Tips from NRC Research Press

The best way to get your paper published is to pay close attention to three important factors: choosing the right journal, respecting its writing guidelines, and following its submission process.

Choosing a Journal

Your success depends on making a good match between your paper and a journal's mandate and readership. Some key things to consider are

  • The size and scope of its readership.
    A journal with a large, worldwide subscription base has a bigger audience.
  • The format and accessibility of its content.
    Journals offering electronic versions provide quick dissemination. When there is open access, readership increases.
  • The journal's promotional strategy.
    Aggregators and subscription agents, as well as abstracting services, promote the visibility of journal contents

Your should also ask yourself:

  1. Is the journal a general, specialized, or interdisciplinary journal? The topic of your paper should fit the content of the journal and the journal should be widely read by researchers in your discipline.

  2. Will the full text of my paper be on the Web, and will search engines such as Google and Google Scholar pick it up?

  3. Does the journal offer appropriate linking functionality in papers? (e.g., CrossRef, PubMed, and Web of Science for reference linking; GenBank, EMBL, DDBJ, Protein Data Bank, and Cambridge Crystallographic Data Center for linking to databases).

  4. Does the journal offer alerting services (e.g., e-mail alerts, RSS feeds) for new issues or new papers as a way to draw the readers' attention to specific topics?

  5. Will they allow me to publish preprints of my research on my personal Web site, my institution's research site, and/or the journal's Web site?

  6. Will I have to pay page charges, colour reproduction costs, and print and/or electronic reprint fees?

  7. How long will it take for my research to be published? For highly competitive disciplines, shorter turnaround times for peer review and publishing is necessary for disseminating research results quickly.

  8. Does the journal offer an online submission system that makes submission easy and shortens turnaround times?

  9. What is the journal's rejection rate? If it is high, it is less likely that your paper will be published, but it may also mean that the quality of papers is high.

  10. How is the journal ranked in comparison to others? With a journal of higher impact factor and shorter cited half-life, it is more likely that your paper will be cited right away.

  11. Will my paper be available online with credit card payment (pay-per-view)? For journals with restricted access, pay-per-view allows readers to access copies of your paper quickly, without hassle.

Respecting writing guidelines

If you want a journal to publish your paper, you must respect their writing guidelines! Here are some important tips:

  • Follow the Instructions to Authors — it helps get your paper through the process quickly.

  • Record your research results in a way that allows both analysis and review. You are responsible for presenting a concise, accurate account of the work performed.

  • Consult the discipline-specific style manual that relates to your research, if it exists — it will help you to maintain the style conventions within your field.

  • Keep in mind subject – verb agreement, proper tense, and syntax. Nouns, pronouns, and antecedents should be clear. Avoid redundancy.

  • Confirm authorship and order with other authors of the paper and your discipline/institutional guidelines.

  • Avoid "self-plagiarism" (duplicate publication) or "salami science" (slicing up one study's results into many publications). Be aware that fabricating data, excluding unfavourable data in an effort to mislead, and theft of data are all serious offenses.

  • Use the widely accepted Système international d'unités or give SI equivalents.

  • Follow the American Mathematical Society conventions for the presentation of math. Communicating math clearly is critical to publishing a paper and conveying the message to the reader.

  • Explain equations in the text. Define each variable at first mention or in a complete list of symbols. Use variable for ONE purpose only.

  • Keep in mind that inserting or removing data from digital photographs is considered manipulation of data, and is unethical. Maintain the native file format of data for figures.

Following the submission process

The journal's editorial team has a submission process in place — respect it by:

  • Using the journal's Web-based submission system if available. This shortens the turnaround time of your paper.

  • Checking whether there are file format restrictions, whether figures should be high or low resolution, and whether you are required to embed figures and tables in manuscript.

  • Suggesting potential peer reviewers and/or naming people who should not be chosen as reviewers, if this is normal practice for the journal.

  • Citing and referencing any of your related or previous reports on the same subject, making copies of them or other relevant papers available to the editor.

  • Transferring copyright to the publisher, if needed at this stage.

  • Providing letters of permission for any material (i.e., tables and figures) that you are reproducing in your paper.

  • Submitting to only one journal at a time — duplicate submission can result in rejection from both journals.

If you are interested in publishing your paper with NRC Research Press, explore the complete journal list of its 16 peer-reviewed journals, with links to each journal's home page and information for authors.