Skip to main content

Choosing publication channels

What aspects, from a bibliometric perspective, should you consider when choosing a publication channel?

Mats Magnusson

"We want research to be free, but it comes with a responsibility"

When the publishing landscape changes, it requires new approaches from the universities. Otherwise, the quality of research is at risk of falling, and trust in science is compromised.

Read the full interview with KTH professor Mats Magnusson

There are numerous aspects influencing the impact, measured by bibliometrics, of a research publication. There is no simple fit-to-all publishing strategy recipe that will maximize the number of received citations. The best publishing strategy is dependent on context. Nevertheless, knowledge of the aspects influencing the impact of your papers enhance the possibilities to communicate the research for impact on the research community and in channels that are recognized by the bibliometric evaluation systems. Some important factors are listed below.

Relevance to research subject

To get cited, the research needs to be communicated to the researchers that are likely to cite your publications. Therefore, the research needs to be communicated in channels that reach these researchers. It is perhaps obvious to publish papers within journals, books or conference proceedings that are relevant to the research subject. However, the ambition to publish in high impact journals and in channels that are covered by the Web of Science might influence researchers to consider publication channels outside the core of their research subject. The impact of the journal is correlated to the influence of the papers but can only explain a small part of the number of citations received. Publishing in high impact journals, when the intended audience might not be reached, can have negative consequences when it comes to citation impact.

Publication type

Journal articles are the publication type best covered by the Web of Science. Conference papers are covered to some extent. Some other publication types are not covered at all, or are hard to evaluate from a bibliometric perspective. The publication type is therefore of importance for bibliometric evaluation and hence something to consider before publishing.

Channel and impact

Articles in journals with high Journal Impact Factor (JIF) recieve more citations on average than articles in journals with low impact factor. However, individual articles in low impact factor journals can receive many citations and a lot of papers in high impact journals receive few or none citations. As mentioned, only a low share of the citations can be explained by the journal´s impact. However, getting a paper into a relevant high impact journal are likely to leverage the number of citations to a paper compared to a low impact journal. The Journal Impact Factor can therefore be one valuable tool used when publishing. Alternatives to the Journal Impact Factor are the Scimago Journal Ranking (SJR) and Source Normalised Impact per Paper (SNIP), both in Scopus.

References/More info

Kronman, U. (2013). Article: Managing your assets in the publication economy. Confero Essays on Education Philosophy and Politics, 1(1), 91–128.

Parker, J. N., Allesina, S., & Lortie, C. J. (2013). Article: Characterizing a scientific elite (B): publication and citation patterns of the most highly cited scientists in environmental science and ecology. Scientometrics, 94(2), 469–480.

People in a discussion

Contact the library

The library staff can help you with questions regarding the publishing process, open access publishing, research data, bibliometrics and altmetrics.


More contact information and opening hours