Publication in International Journals: Tips, traps and a look at IRRODL
Publication in International Journals:
Tips, traps and a look at IRRODL
By Professor Terry Anderson
May 26, 2017
– 10 years as editor of the International Review of
Research in Open and Distance Education
• On editorial Boards of:
– RUSC. Revista de Universidad y Sociedad del
– American Journal of Distance Education
– Journal of Distance Education
– Internet in Higher Education
– Canadian Journal of Learning Technology
– Journal of Interactive Media in Education
– The Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society
– Canada Research Chairs College of Reviewers
– Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society
– Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning
• A Scholar’s Guide to
Getting Published in
English: Critical Choices
and Practical Strategies
• Not just how to write
PUBLISHING IS A SOCIAL PROCESS
• Involves the way we think, work and talk and
to who we talk to.
• Expectations are dependent on social context
• Practices are related to institutions and
structures related to power and ideologies
• Social practices are ever changing
From A Scholar’s Guide to
Getting Published in English: Critical Choices and Practical Strategies
Some of the major ‘discussion’
• Through exploration, referral, awareness from
academic social networks:
• Strongly recommended to join one
• ResearchGate or Academia.edu
Try to become a reviewer of Papers for
Journals in your Discipline
• Meet deadlines
• Don’t just check of rating boxes – add
comments and suggestions
• Good journals return (anonymously) your
review PLUS reviews from other reviewers
PLUS editor’s decision.
Citing Other works
• English language or Chinese publications?
• You may be more familiar with Chinese
scholars in your area, but since the majority of
readers (and editors) in English language
journals do not read Chinese, it is likely best to
have most of your citations from works
published in English
• It is OK to cite your own works, but don’t over
Promoting your work
• If possible translate into English your works
already published in Chinese
• Post these translations on a public web site –
they will be indexed by Google Scholar
• Can lead to citatiosn and name awareness in
the rest of the world.
What does “international”
in the name of a journal mean?
• It has a high number of international editors
• It has hopes of being read globally
• It is published in English
• It has a high ‘impact factor’
• It is a ‘scam journal’ trying to get money from
Why do we care so much about
Thompson Reuters WOS, SSCI
• Owned by a commercial company
• Prejudiced against open access Journals
• Does not cite emerging journals, conference
proceedings, articles “in press”
• Has too much power over academic interest
• Is not demonstrably better than Google
• Only cites articles in SSCI Journals
The Great debate about
Curk Bonk (USA) lists
Lists 12 pros and 27 cons of the special weight
placed on SSCI in East Asia;
Check for rating tools besides SSCI
Check Rating of Citations using
Harzing’s Publish or Perish – based on
One author’s publications
What is the Right Journal?
• Read carefully the statements about the focus of
– Regional or international?
– Theory or practice?
– Focus on particular methodology?
– Descriptions of editor(s) and editorial board members
• Skim read last few issues of the journal. Is your
article similar to these articles but offers
something different. Determine what type of
work most interests this journal.
What is the Right Journal?
• Chinese or English??
• Thomson Social Science Citation Impact (SSCI) factor
– 221 Education Journals
– 2 distance education journals
– 1 open access DE journal - IRRODL
• Check Publish or Perish (using Google Scholar) impact
factor – not just for SSCI journals
• Frequency of publication and number of articles
• Rejection Rate??
• Time from submission to publication
• Readership within your target audience
• Open Access?
• Attracts more readers in developing countries
• Can lead to higher citation rates
• Can be expensive ($2,000) – can be free (ex.
IRRODL and Journal of Educational Technology &
• “Open Access papers were between 26% and
64% more cited on average for any given years
than all papers combined, whereas non-OA
received between 17% and 33% fewer citations.”
– Archambault, É., Amyot, D., Deschamps, P., Nicol, A., Provencher, F., Rebout, L.,
& Roberge, G. (2014). Proportion of open access papers published in peer-
reviewed journals at the European and world levels—1996–2013.
Technical Components of
a Good Article
• Essential pieces:
• Good English
• Appropriate audience
• Great abstract
• Sound theoretical base (I like conceptual maps)
• LIMITED literature review - up to date and telsl a story
• Clear methodology
• Clear and concise results- usually with tables/diagrams
• Meaningful results
• Less than 7,000 words
Components of a Good Article (cont.)
• Essential pieces:
• Not published elsewhere
• Some Journals allow articles not published in English
• Implications for practice
• Implications for further research
• Appropriate referencing (use a reference manager)
• Read directions for authors 3 times before pressing
• Have draft proof read by at least one friend/peer and
preferably one native language speaker.
• Or use an English language editing service or a
colleague in an English speaking country
• Citing recent works from the selected journal helps!!
Finding Good English Academic Phrases
Can I publish a Literature Review?
• it is a systematic literature review of an important
issue and shows evidence that you have
methodologically searched for, read and reviewed ALL
relevant literature. No general overviews.
• it contains original empirical data
• You are an undiscovered genius or a well established
name in the field and have theoretical insights that are
new, unique and important.
• A “revisions required” or “re-submit for review” is NOT
• You do not need to follow every one of the reviewers’
recommendations, but you do need to explain why you
are not following each one.
– Thank the editor for reviewers’ comments
– A summary of the reviewers’ comments and how they
were addressed (best in table format with page number of
– Copy with tracked changes
– Clean copy
• If possible, do a plagiarism check on TURNITIN
or other detector
– Likely the managing editor will!!
• NEVER submit the article for review to two
journals at the same time
Gaming the system-
Advice from Jay Lemke
• “Mention in your review of the literature at
least two members of the journal’s editorial
• Submit your manuscript to a journal which has
recently published similar work
• Work and cite at least two things recently
published in that journal, preferably by
people you know or who are likely to approve
of the approach used in your research.
A look at one Open Access SSCI Journal
• Most widely read and most cited Distance
Education Journal in the world
• Translations for all articles (Google Translate)
Published using Open Journal System
Open source system from Canada!
Behind the Scenes of an Open Journal
System (OJS) Journal
• Copy Editing
The Problem with IRRODL for Chinese
• IRRODL uses a variety of Google services
(analytics, translation, citation search etc)
• IRRODL is NOT blocked, but must wait for time
out from each Google service called
• Expect delays in screen updates
Questions for Discussion
• Why is Thomson Reuters SSCI so important?
• What is wrong with Scopius? – larger - 28,000
• How can Chinese articles become better
known in the West?
• Do you have additional suggestions or
personal experiences that will be of use to all
Your comments and questions
Terry Anderson, Ph.D.
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Professor, Athabasca University
10005 93 St
Edmonton, AB Canada
T5H 1W6 Ph 780 425 5950
These slides are available!