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Scholarly Publishing: What Faculty Can Do

Publish to Maximize Impact

[image by Igor Klisov, Flickr 8/31/11]

Where you publish can maximize your research impact. Studies indicate that open-access articles are more immediately and more frequently cited than non-open-access articles. Increased citation rates lead to greater research impact.

There are several options for making your research more widely available:

  1. Start by retaining your copyright. This will allow you to disseminate your work more widely, including posting a version into a repository, such as Iowa Research Online.
  2. Consider making your work open access.

    The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) offers a list of free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals in a broad array of disciplines. Select “For authors” to see the various open access options available.

    Some journals make their content free after a certain "embargo" period. The HighWire Press list of Free Online Full-text Articles includes more than 1000 scientific journals, for which content is freely available after an initial period, usually 12 months. 

    Some publishers offer a “hybrid” model, giving the author the option to pay for an individual article to be open access. The List of Open Access and Paid Access Fees provides a list of hybrid-option publishers and the fees they charge. Be aware that your open access article may be "hidden" among articles that require a fee to view, and thus be much harder to find and read.
  3. Post your article to a repository, such as Iowa Research Online or a discipline-based repository.

Wield Your Influence

  1. Support open-access publishers and reasonably priced non-profit publishers by submitting papers to them instead of to costly commercial journals.
  2. Accept invitations to referee papers for open access journals.
  3. Serve on editorial boards for open-access journals.
  4. Encourage your scholarly society to follow publishing best practices including maintaining reasonable prices for its journals and allowing authors to self-archive their work.
  5. Find out more about your publication before you decide to publish in it. Examine the pricing and licensing agreements of journals you contribute to as an author, reviewer, or editor. If possible, refuse to contribute to or edit for journals from publishers who practice "predatory pricing" or who do not allow authors to retain their copyrights.

Take Action on Campus

  1. Encourage discussion of scholarly publishing issues and proposals for change in your department, college, or university.
  2. Invite library participation in faculty departmental meetings and graduate seminars to discuss scholarly publishing issues.
  3. Deposit your research and departmental materials in Iowa Research Online (IRO), our institutional repository.
  4. When sitting on grant-review panels or hiring, tenure, or promotion committees, give due weight to peer-reviewed publications regardless of their price, medium, or business model. Don’t rely solely on prestige or impact factor as this discriminates against new journals that may be of high quality.
  5. Educate the next generation of scientists and scholars about the benefits of sharing their research. Explain to your students that open access is compatible with peer review, copyright, and career advancement.

Tell Us About Your Experiences

Share your experiences with Mahrya Burnett (, Scholarly Communications Librarian.