A simple guide for students and budding scientists on where to publish their work in Biological Sciences

In many traditional academic institutions, there’s this common academic maxim ‘Publish or Perish’, which means if you don’t publish you may lose or demote from your job position. This is the reason that many prestigious universities and research institutions puts a quota to their scientists and faculty in terms of papers publish annually, not to mention the number of a conference organized, talks, and symposia attended. The same reason why they [higher institutions] hire and fund graduate students preferably Ph.D.’s to sustain the demand and need to publish –also known as to generate knowledge that will be beneficial for the society. Also, the number of publication is a measure of funding efficacy. Many funding agencies require institutions to publish the results of their publicly funded projects. In the Philippines, not all institutions follow this rules but instead paper publications has become an integral part of tenures and promotions in many state-owned universities and research institutions. Many institutions in the country also encourage researchers to publish through incentive-based policies.

Writing and publishing manuscripts is challenging, it isn’t like learning ABC’s and 123’s. It is where you dedicate most of your daily time spent with cups of coffee (and frustrations) –perseverance, critical thinking, and creativity is a must in writing your piece (your research paper). Your starter pack includes your objectives, data from either field work or laboratory experiments and other sources, and most importantly the will to write! It is important to remind yourself that having your data and the ideas written in an A4, double-spaced, 12 points-Times New Roman, continuous line numbering, and those beautiful figures and tables aren’t enough ingredients to assure you of ‘ready-to-serve’ publications (at least we have computers today to perform the baking).

The next step is to submit your work to a journal and publisher. Your paper will pass through many obstacles: it is reviewed by the editor, sent to a ‘blind’ peer reviewer who actually knows you (and sometimes hates you for conceptualizing the idea that he/she should’ve written years ago!). After few months (sometimes years) of waiting in agony, the cake is served (sounds like delicious but it isn’t) and if you’re lucky you’ll receive ‘accepted with minor revisions’ and if not ‘rejected –there’s novelty in your work…Blah…Blah…’. Manuscript rejections is not a rare ending of your work (Tip: if you received the decision and if it looks negative, leave it for at least a day). There are a lot of reasons why papers get rejected. Occasionally rejection happens upon submission. I remember I had 4 papers rejected after less than 24 hours upon submission, and we had this ‘data-powered’ paper submitted to Ecology which was rejected not because it’s not good but it doesn’t fit the journal’s scope. Yes, the appropriateness of your work to journal’s scope is very important. You can’t publish your work on earthworms in a mammal research journals or your social science research on a proteomic journal. But it’s not only the appropriateness of your work. Your work should be in good quality, scientifically-sound, data robust, statistically correct (if needed), and there’s lot more criteria (like what I’ve said it is not easy to publish).

Every rejection it feels like you are not ‘good enough’ to publish academically or you don’t belong anymore in the arena. Sometimes it discourages you to pursue your work or write another paper because you think it will be rejected again. But, an important point to remember here is that even the established academics receive rejections. I know a lot of them and they told a lot of stories about it and I learned so many things on how to cope up with rejections and the very same reason why I am writing this, so rejections doesn’t mean the end of the world if you, as a novice in the field, also receive one. Another one, you can learn a lot from rejections, literally from

BOX 1. What is an ISI and Scopus journals?

Scopus and ISI are both top Bibliographic Citation Database. Scopus was founded by the publishing house Elsevier in 1995.  It covers nearly 22,000 titles from over 5,000 publishers, of which 20,000 are peer-reviewed journals in the scientific, technical, medical, and social sciences. However, Scopus do not calculate the Impact factor of the journal instead it calculate the h-index of the author using its digital identifier ORCID. On the other hand, Thomson Reuters Web of Science (generally known as ISI Web of Science or ISI) is owned by Thompson Reuters group. The ISI also publishes the annual Journal Citation Reports which list an impact factor for each of the journals that it tracks. Thompson Reuters Journal Masterlist is currently transferred to Clavirate Analytics™ (http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/).  It is important to take note that within the scientific community, journal impact factors play a large but controversial role in determining the kudos attached to a scientist’s published research record. ISI is also responsible for the Academic Ranking of the World Universities commissioned by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

In comparison between Scopus and ISI, a 2006 study concluded that “Scopus is easy to navigate, even for the novice user. The ability to search both forward and backward from a particular citation would be very helpful to the researcher. The multidisciplinary aspect allows the researcher to easily search outside of his discipline” and “One advantage of WOS over Scopus is the depth of coverage, with the full WOS database going back to 1945 and Scopus going back to 1966. However, Scopus and WOS complement each other as neither resource is all inclusive.

Additionally, the difference in citation records between ISI versus Scopus varies hugely by discipline. For the academics working in the Sciences, Scopus generally finds fewer citations than ISI, with the exception of our Computer Scientist. For the academics working in the Social Sciences and Humanities Scopus generally finds more citations than ISI, with the exception of the Cinema Studies academic. Hence, most journal are in Science are only found in ISI database.

the reviewer’s comments and suggestions you received, who are generally free of charge service for reviewing your paper and certainly do not reject it just for the sake of it. Reviewer’s comments are not intended to be a personal criticism of you but should be looking at as constructive criticism of the paper you have submitted. Don’t worry the number of times your work was rejected will not appear in your CV’s –so don’t be discouraged.

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As a budding writer (I choose to use this word since soon you will be blooming to a very good writer), you are encouraged to submit your work on high-impact journals but not really a must. In publishing your work make sure you are keen not to publish your work on Predatory Journals. These journals are called Predatory because they profit from authors by charging high priced publication/processing fee and doesn’t provide rigorous reviews and sometimes don’t even review your work. But, doesn’t mean you pay a huge amount it is predatory, there are exemplary journals such as PLoS, BioMed central (BMC) that charge more than 1500 U$D to publish your work after the acceptance-only agreement. A good way to spot a Predatory Journal is when they flood your email with an invitation to publish, a rapid publication with questionable review system (other journals offer 1-week publication), with enormous publication charge, and awful formatting and layout. But, there’s a growing debate on the issue on predatory journals for until now there’s no proper metrics to determine this. The good way to spot a good journal is to check their editorial board, a number of published papers, and the authors who publish in the journals. It is also good to refer to your colleagues or supervisors about the quality of the journal. There is also a negative academic stereotype on Indian-based journals but it is important to take note that there are good and exemplary journals based from India that publishes good data and papers. Therefore, it is important that students and researchers know where to publish their output.

So, here I share with you a list of recommended journals for students and budding scientists based on personal readings and reviews and this may exclude other journals (but I will keep this list updated). Some of these journals were classified as Q4 Ranking journals http://www.scimagojr.com/ and Digitally Indexed Journals (Web of Science and Scopus Indexed).

Please take note that these journals may be cross-disciplined and may include wide topics and scopes. It is recommended that you check the website (provided) to determine if your work fits the journal.

List of recommended journals for starters

General Biology

  1. Tropical Life Sciences Research http://www.tlsr.usm.my/
  2. Natural Sciences and Agriculture https://www.journals.elsevier.com/agriculture-and-natural-resources/
  3. Biotropia http://journal.biotrop.org/
  4. Asia Life Sciences http://www.sersc.org/journals/ALS/
  5. Malaysian Nature Journal http://www.mnj.my/
  6. Philippine Science Letters http://www.philsciletters.org/
  7. Current Science http://www.currentscience.ac.in/
  8. Journal of Nature Studies http://www.journalofnaturestudies.org/
  9. Journal of Sustainability Science and Management http://jssm.umt.edu.my/

Zoology, Entomology, and Animal Sciences

  1. Journal of Advanced Zoology http://jazindia.com/
  2. Journal of Threatened Taxa http://www.threatenedtaxa.in/i
  3. Asian Journal of Animals Sciences http://scialert.net/current.php?issn=1819-1878
  4. Nematology http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/15685411
  5. Folia Zoologica http://www.ivb.cz/pubser_en.htm
  6. Wildlife Biology in Practice http://socpvs.org/journals/index.php/wbp
  7. Zoology and Ecology http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tzec20
  8. Tropical Zoology http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ttzo
  9. Forktail http://orientalbirdclub.org/forktail/
  10. Herpetology Notes http://www.biotaxa.org/hn ; http://www.herpetologynotes.seh-herpetology.org/
  11. Asian Herpetological Research http://www.ahr-journal.com/en/default.aspx
  12. Herpetologica http://www.hljournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-archive&ct=1
  13. Entomological Research http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/enr
  14. Insect Science http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/ins
  15. International Journal of Acarology http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/taca20/current
  16. Mammal Studies http://www.mammalogy.jp/journals/MammalStudy_e.html
  17. The Philippine Entomologists https://www.journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/TPE/index
  18. Zoological Research http://www.bioline.org.br/zr
  19. Journal of Entomology and Zoological Research http://www.entomoljournal.com/
  20. Raffle’s Bulleting of Zoology http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/index.php/pastvolumes?id=74
  21. Current Zoology http://www.currentzoology.org/

Ecology and Conservation, Environmental Sciences, Biodiversity

  1. Biotropica http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0006-3606&site=1
  2. Biodiversity and Conservation http://link.springer.com/journal/10531
  3. Journal of Ecology and Environment http://www.jecoenv.org/
  4. Ecology, Environment and Conservation http://envirobiotechjournals.com/journal_details.php?jid=3
  5. Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation http://www.ums.edu.my/ibtpv2/index.php/en/publications/74-journal-of-tropical-biology-and-conservation-vol-11
  6. Environment Asia http://www.tshe.org/ea/
  7. Environment and Society http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/
  8. Biodiversity Science http://www.biodiversity-science.net/
  9. Subterranean Biology http://subtbiol.pensoft.net/
  10. Endangered Species Research http://www.int-res.com/journals/esr/
  11. Ecotoxicology http://www.springer.com/environment/journal/10646
  12. Journal of Biodiversity and Ecological Sciences http://www.jbes.ir/
  13. Oryx http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=ORX
  14. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research http://www.aloki.hu/
  15. Asian Journal of Conservation Biology http://www.ajcb.in/
  16. Journal of Environmental Science and Management https://journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/JESAM
  17. Ecological Questions http://www.eq.umk.pl/
  18. Ecosystem and Development Journal https://journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/EDJ
  19. Journal of Asia-Pacific Biodiversity https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-asia-pacific-biodiversity/

Anthropology, Ethnobiology, Social Sciences

  1. Conservation and Society http://www.conservationandsociety.org/
  2. Anthropozoologica http://www.bioone.org/loi/anth
  3. Ethnobiology and Conservation http://ethnobioconservation.com/index.php/ebc
  4. Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine https://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/

Botany and plant science

  1. Plant Archives http://www.plantarchives.org/
  2. Current Archives in Botany http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/381/description#description
  3. Journal of Plant Sciences http://scialert.net/jindex.php?issn=1816-4951
  4. Journal of Plant Phytochemistry http://scialert.net/jindex.php?issn=1819-3471
  5. Tropical Plant Biology http://www.springer.com/life+sci/plant+sciences/journal/12042
  6. The Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore https://www.sbg.org.sg/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=694&Itemid=118
  7. Taiwania http://tai2.ntu.edu.tw/taiwania/index.php

 Forestry

  1. Forest Studies https://www.degruyter.com
  2. Forest Science and Practice http://link.springer.com/journal/11632
  3. Forest Science and Technology http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tfst20/current
  4. Journal of Tropical Forest Science http://mycc.my/myjms/index.php/JTFS

Agriculture and crop related studies

  1. Agrivita http://www.agrivita.ub.ac.id/
  2. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/gapp20/current
  3. Journal of Plant Protection Research http://www.plantprotection.pl/
  4. Journal of Tropical Agriculture http://jtropag.kau.in
  5. Crop Research http://cropresearch.org/
  6. Advances in Horticulture Science http://www.fupress.net/
  7. Tropical Agriculture http://journals.sta.uwi.edu/ta/
  8. Philippine Agricultural Scientist http://www.pas-uplbca.edu.ph/
  9. Journal of Horticultural Research https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/johr
  10. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=1870-0462&lng=en
  11. Rice http://www.springer.com/life+sci/plant+sciences/journal/12284

Microbiology, Health, and allied fields

  1. The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health http://www.tm.mahidol.ac.th/seameo/publication.htm
  2. Modern Food Science and Technology http://en.oversea.cnki.net/
  3. Field Mycology https://www.journals.elsevier.com/field-mycology
  4. Mycosphere http://www.mycosphere.org/
  5. Current Research on Environmental Mycology creamjournal.org/
  6. Folia Parasitologica http://folia.paru.cas.cz/
  7. Archives of Microbiology http://www.springer.com/life+sci/microbiology/journal/203
  8. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health http://jech.bmj.com/
  9. Research Journal of Microbiology http://scialert.net/jindex.php?issn=1816-4935
  10. Mycopathologia http://www.springer.com/life+sci/microbiology/journal/11046
  11. Genetika https://doaj.org/toc/1820-6069
  12. Acta Microscopica
  13. Philippine Journal of Biotech https://journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/PJBiotech

Fisheries and Aquatic Biology (including Marine Sciences/Biology)

  1. Aquatic Ecology http://www.springer.com/life+sci/ecology/journal/10452
  2. Estuaries and Coast http://www.springer.com/environment/journal/12237
  3. Coral Reefs http://www.springer.com/life+sci/ecology/journal/338
  4. Inland Water Biology http://www.springer.com/life+sci/ecology/journal/12212
  5. Journal of Coastal Research http://www.jcronline.org/
  6. Knowledge in Management of Aquatic Ecosystems http://www.kmae-journal.org/
  7. Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science http://scialert.net/jindex.php?issn=1816-4927

Taxonomy and Systematics (Description of species, Geographic notes)

  1. Checklist http://www.checklist.org.br/
  2. Biodiversity Data Journal http://bdj.pensoft.net/
  3. ZooKeys http://zookeys.pensoft.net/
  4. PhytoKeys http://phytokeys.pensoft.net/
  5. Systematics and Biodiversity http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tsab20/current
  6. Biodiversity and Natural History http://www.biodiversnathist.com/
  7. Museum Publications in Natural History https://journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/MPNH

For a complete list of all the journals you need here are the links for useful databases you can access http://ekolojinet.com/journals.html and for more list access this website http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/pubs/all_journals.htm.

Publishing in academia is a particularly important career step but, like all things that are worthwhile, it takes time; it also gets easier with practice. So don’t wait any longer. Start writing that paper now! Publish! Flourish!

Disclaimer: the author of this blog is neither promoting nor involved in any journals/publisher listed in this blog. The list of journals/publisher on this blog will be updated timely. Please comment below if for clarifications and additional info.

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