Scientific research articles are among the most prestigious documents (Fig. 1) produced today and each paper is counted as a product of knowledge. They are the means by which scientists report their scientific contributions and establish their credibility.
The five-part structure of research papers (Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion) serves as the conceptual basis for the content. English serves as the current language of science and collaboration in research and writing-up is now the norm in science. The number of articles authored by teams and number of authors per article is increasing. Team-authored articles are generally noticed to be cited more frequently, indicating greater influence in the discipline.
Nowadays more and more publications are available online either open access (OA) or via subscription-based journals. Methods of open science have become more frequent, and this has led to an increase in OA journals, OA publications and publication and data repositories.
For a graduate student, generally the most important forms of publications are scientific articles and a doctoral thesis. Doctoral and licentiate theses at UEF are usually published at the publication series of faculties. The UEF researchers and other experts produce more than 2000 scientific publications each year and approximately two thirds of these are published internationally. Scientific research results are primarily published on international forums, whenever this is suitable for the discipline.
Read more about the publishing process as a whole by studying the sections below.
How to publish a scientific article
What makes a good paper? The most fundamental ingredient is excellent research. Work with the best scientists you can, in the best lab you can find. You will absorb the most about doing excellent science if you are surrounded by it during your training. Make sure that the questions you investigate are important and of interest to others in the field.
The best way for you to learn to write first-class papers is by getting as much practice as possible. The key characteristic of scientific writing is clarity. For instance, 30–50% of articles submitted to Elsevier journals are rejected before they even reach the peer-review stage, and one of the top reasons for rejection is poor language. In the eyes of the readers, editors and reviewers included, the quality of the paper you send in directly reflects the quality of the science behind it. Thus, data and writing must be free of errors. Check and recheck that all information is consistent. It is critical that the article is written clearly and that it contains no spelling or grammatical errors, and that the logic is clear. Show your paper to your most critical colleagues and friends, and take their advice seriously. Also, make sure that all authors have seen and approved the submission!
Aiming your article at the most appropriate journal can save much effort and reveal your results to the world sooner. When assessing the suitable journal, read the aims and scope and author guidelines of your target journal carefully. In addition to your manuscript, remember to submit a cover letter. The content of the cover letter is worth spending time on. Notice that the cover letter is not the abstract of your manuscript. Limiting the cover letter to half a page is recommended.
A good cover letter:
- Outlines the main theme of the article.
- Argues the novelty of the article.
- Justifies the relevance of the manuscript to the target journal.
After editor evaluation, the reviewers are chosen by the editor on the basis of their expertise in the field. After review, the editor makes a decision about publication, taking into account all of the feedback he/she has received. Hopefully, the journal wants to publish your paper. Still, revision is usually recommended. Remember that the editor and reviewers want to see your article improved and published. Make all possible attempts to comply with the editor and reviewers’ requests. When you send your revised paper back to the journal, you should include a detailed, point-by-point explanation of how you have addressed each of the reviewers’ and editor’s comments. Also, be polite to your editor.
Open peer-review as a part of open science and open research evaluation process has been increasingly under discussions. Read more about this option.
In spite of your best efforts, you might receive a rejection letter from the journal of your choice. This does not mean that your paper is not good. For example, at Science more than 90% of the articles submitted are rejected. In most cases, the best and most time-efficient course is to reassess quickly your choice of journal, fix any weaknesses that may have been pointed out in the review process, reformat the paper for your second-choice journal, and send it off.
Scientific publications are important for your scholarly career and visibility. To enhance your scientific impact, presence at the academic social networks is recommended. Also, researchers are encouraged, and required by some funders and publishers, to create an ORCID ID to help attaching your identity to your research work and to support your visibility.
Research and researcher visibility is discussed more in the following sections.
Watch the video (37:25): Jarmo Saarti, Former UEF Library Director: Scientific publishing – from a manuscript to a scientific publication (pdf).
Filik, H. The 20 Golden Rules for Increasing Your Citation Numbers. Kalite Editing Blog.
Hochberg, M. & Cagan, A. 2019. An editor’s guide to writing and publishing science. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Toikkanen, T., Kaakinen, L. & Jauhiainen, I. 2020. Ohje avoimesta lisensoinnista tutkijoille ja tieteellisille julkaisijoille. Vastuullisen tieteen julkaisusarja 11:2020. (in Finnish only)
How to choose a publication channel
Which publication channels are relevant to you? Scientific journals or books or something else? Which journals are you going to offer your articles to?
The choice of a publication channel should be based on scientific impact of the channel, because that is highly important criterion for the study and your career, and also required by the university. It is always worth discussing the quality of different publication series with your colleagues. You can also contact the library for help.
When choosing a suitable, reliable and high-quality publishing channel, for example the following services can be used.
Journal.fi contains Finnish scholarly journals online.
Predatory OA publishers
When choosing a publishing channel, beware of dishonest, so-called predatory OA publishers. Such journal titles have been gathered on the Beall’s List, which, however, is no longer updated (last updated: 2016). The list contains potential or plausible scientifically questionable OA journals that often neglect peer-reviewing and mainly aim for cashing in from scientists.
At UEF, Cabells Predatory Reports (click ‘kokotekstin saatavuus’/’full text availability’) can be used for checking potential predatory journals.
Read UEF Library’s blog post: Beware of predators!
Think Check Submit. Find tips about how to publish in a suitable journal and how to avoid predatory journals.
Assessment of scholarly journals is more thoroughly discussed at Module 5.
Helsinki University Press (HUB). 2018. Opening up research – Discover the new Open Access publisher.
Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (SKS). 2018. Tieteelliset julkaisusarjat. Tietoa mm. SKS:n julkaisusarjoista ja avoimesta julkaisemisesta. (in Finnish)
Responsible Research – Promoting responsible research at The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Coordination for Open Science, Publication Forum, The Committee for Public Information (TJNK), Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK and the Responsible Research Articles.
UEF publishing policy
According to the Publishing Policy of the University of Eastern Finland, research findings are published in the most relevant, high impact journals of each research field. The objective is to make research findings obtained through public funding extensively available to the scientific community and society as a whole. Scientific publications are made openly available whenever possible through self-archiving or by publishing in open access journals.
Open access publishing
Open science and research have become an internationally significant method to promote the coverage and impact of science in the society. Open science means opening of research publications, data and methods. Open access refers to a form of online publishing in which a scientific publication is openly accessible and utilisable for everyone, without separate compensation. UEF, like many other universities and funders around the world, demands research results to be published with an open access (OA) status within the limits of agreements and laws.
Open access of publications can be achieved via different routes:
Gold open access
The articles/books are immediately published on the journal’s/publisher’s website and these publications are accessible to everyone and free of charge to all readers. In these journals, there is a reliable peer review process and, usually, they have an author/article processing charge (APC), which covers publisher’s costs. There is a book processing charge (BPC) for books.
Be sure to allocate sufficient resources for article processing charges already during the planning phase of your research. At UEF, if it is not possible to use research funding to cover the publication costs, you can ask your department if the open access fees could be paid from the unit’s basic funding. Also, see if your organisation has special APC benefits for researchers – since many organisations, like UEF, have such.
The article is published in a subscription-based journal and this single article is opened by paying extra fees (APC). In this publishing model there are charges for both the subscription and for opening an article. This is called “double dipping”, and hopefully this OA option disappears soon.
However, many organisations have so-called transformative agreements with publishers. The transformative agreements include hybrid journals, and the aim of the agreements is to transform the hybrid journals into fully open access journals when certain criteria are met. These transformative deals usually include open access publishing in the agreement’s journals without APCs for the author. All the UEF’s transformative agreements are listed on the APC benefits from publishers page.
Green open access (green OA, self-archiving)
The articles are published in a subscription-based journal, but the publisher allows self-archiving of your article. Similarly with books, the book is published as a print version, but the publisher allows self-archiving of your book. The self-archived copy is available e.g. via organisational (e.g. UEF eRepository) or discipline-specific publication repository (e.g. arXiv, bioRxiv, medRxiv). You can also search in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) to find more information about the repositories throughout the world. To find a discipline-specific repository, check out this OA Directory.
Self-archiving must be agreed upon between the authors and the publisher. Often the publisher can have set restrictions related to self-archiving and these restrictions must be obeyed. There might be an embargo period before you can publish your publication on the repository. Self-archiving is free of charge for authors, so it might be a good option especially if you don’t have a budget for APC fees.
Depending on the publisher, different versions of the manuscript can be self-archived.
- Pre-print – Manuscript. The version of the article before peer-review.
- Final draft – The version that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publishing but which does not have the final layout of the journal. The final draft is also called a post-print, pre-proof or accepted author manuscript (AAM). The version with page numbers and publisher logos is no longer a final draft version.
- Publisher’s PDF – The final published version of the article with the layout of the journal.
Research funders and organisations may require that OA must be ensured immediately or after a certain embargo period.
To sum up, watch the video about open access publishing:
Tools for finding Open Access articles and journals
Open access articles can be searched via various services, such as publication archives and open access journal directories.
Also, read UEF Library’s blog posts about:
Sherpa Romeo is an online resource that presents publishers’ and journals’ open access policies from around the world. Every registered publisher or journal held in Romeo is carefully reviewed and analysed by a specialist team who provide summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors on a journal-by-journal basis where possible.
APC benefits for UEF researchers
Scientific journals usually charge an Article/Author Processing Charge (APC) from the author of an article to cover the costs of open access publishing. UEF researchers can have discount on APCs of several publishers. Read more about the APC benefits for UEF reseachers.
Plan S is an initiative for open access publishing launched in 2018 by cOAlition S, a consortium of national research agencies and funders from 11 European countries. Plan S requires scientists and researchers who benefit from publicly funded research to publish their work in open repositories or in open access journals by 2021.
Plan S is structured around ten principles. The key principle is that from the beginning of 2021, scientific publications must be published in open access journals or platforms, or made immediately available in open access repositories without an embargo period.
Please note, related to Academy of Finland research funding: The Academy of Finland requires that Academy-funded projects commit to ensuring immediate open access to their peer-reviewed articles in accordance with Plan S principles. If the chosen scientific journal or publishing platform does not declare that they accept immediate self-archiving, the Academy encourages the authors to propose making the article openly available immediately, as agreed in the publishing agreement. If the publisher refuses immediate self-archiving, the article can be made open access through self-archiving within an embargo (up to 12 months for social sciences and the humanities, up to 6 months for other scientific disciplines).
- Plan S – Making full and immediate open access a reality
- Plan S: Principles and Implementation
- cOAlition S statement on Open Access for academic books. 2.9.2021. Plan S.
F1000Research. An Open Research publishing platform for scientists, scholars and clinicians across the physical and life sciences, engineering, medicine, social sciences and humanities offering rapid publication of articles and other research outputs (e.g. clinical trials, systematic reviews, software tools, method articles). Transparent peer review and editorial guidance on making all source data openly available. Articles are indexed in PubMed, Scopus and other bibliographic databases.
Grudniewicz, A. et al. 2019. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature 576: 210-212.
How Open Is It? A short guide to help you to check the openness of journals. SPARC & PLOS.
Jussila, J. et al. 2022. Avoimen julkaisemisen kustannuksista UEFissa | Costs of Open Access publishing in UEF. UEF Library blog.
Kananen, J. et al. 2021. UEFin julkaisutoiminta vuonna 2021 | UEF’s publishing activities in 2021. UEF Library blog.
Publication reporting and self-archiving at UEF
Yearly reporting of publications produced by the university experts to the Ministry of Education and Culture is highly important. Reported publications form 14% of the funding granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In addition, there is a coefficient of 1.2 for open, peer reviewed publications.
Researchers are responsible for reporting their publications to UEF CRIS (opens in a new tab) research database. You will find more information how to submit your publications into UEF CRIS from Heimo (needs UEF account).
To ensure open access and long-term preservation of publications, researchers are encouraged to self-archive their publications to publication repositories. UEF has launched its own publication repository, UEF eRepository, in February 2017.
Self-archiving into UEF eRepository is a service that the library provides when you submit the information of your publication into the UEF CRIS (opens a new tab) research database. In addition to recording the publication information, you need only attach the final draft/accepted manuscript version of your publication (peer-reviewed, but without the publisher’s final formatting, pagination, logos etc.). In the case of an open access article published under a CC licence, no attachment is required. If you want to self-archive a publication that is already found in UEF CRIS, send an email containing the publication’s reference information (doi, authors, article name, and journal information) to email@example.com, and attach the final draft version of the article. Only peer-reviewed publications are saved at UEF.
Publishing a doctoral dissertation at UEF
The University of Eastern Finland has five publication series: Each of the four faculties has its own series and the university has one general series. The main series are further divided into two subcategories: 1) Dissertations, and 2) Reports and Studies. The main series publish dissertations (1) and other scientific reports and studies of the university (2). The general series is intended for publishing articles and reports pertaining to the university’s operations.
Publication series of the University of Eastern Finland:
- Dissertations in Education, Humanities, and Theology
- Reports and Studies in Education, Humanities, and Theology
- Dissertations in Science, Forestry and Technology
- Reports and Studies in Science, Forestry and Technology
- Dissertations in Health Sciences
- Reports and Studies in Health Sciences
- Dissertations in Social Sciences and Business Studies
- Reports and Studies in Social Sciences and Business Studies
- General Series
Do you already know what will be the publication series for your dissertation? UEF series or something else?
The dissertation can be published after doctoral candidate’s faculty has given permission to defend the dissertation. The dissertation can be published either in print, electronically, or both. The dissertation must be published and delivered to the UEF library at least 10 days before the public examination. If the dissertation is published only electronically, the candidate should nevertheless deliver a paper copy for public viewing to the UEF library.
Read your faculty guidelines for publishing of doctoral dissertation. Who is the editor of your publication series?
Publishing a doctoral dissertation at UEF requires a publishing agreement (see Publishing agreement at the bottom of the page).
If the dissertation includes previously published articles, it is the doctoral candidate’s responsibility to ask for reprint permissions for these from the original publisher. The original publisher may have their own forms for this in their own websites. UEF library encourages asking for both reprint and electronic re-use permissions.
ISBN number identifies the books. ISBN number can be requested from the UEF library by this ISBN request form after the publication has been agreed with the editor of the series.
You should also assign keywords or subject headings to describe the contents of your dissertation. You can consult an information specialist (find your discipline and a contact person) of the library on the subject headings for the abstract page according to the publishing instructions of your faculty. Subject headings (also known as subject descriptors / subject terms) are standardised words or phrases used to describe, find and organize books and articles by topic. They are different from keywords in that they are specific terms assigned by certain vocabularies/thesauruses. So, there are specific subject headings to describe certain words or phenomena. In addition to “official” subject headings, optional keywords can be used to describe your research topic more exactly. Read more about common vocabularies used for defining subject headings.
Also, see the checklist for the public examination.