I need a comprehensive introduction to how research journals work and conferences relevant to the point of view of a student, and as a researcher.

Although I have read many research papers, I think I still don't understand a lot of the basics. I googled my problem and maybe I am not searching it right but I came to know what the volume number, issue number, etc mean just yesterday from here: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmp/sonet/rlos/ebp/journals/what_are_journals/index.html. This was helpful but I still need to know more e.g. what does impact factor mean, how important is this metric, who has the right of distributing the article considering I want my research to be publicly and freely available, what is general process of writing and review, etc.

Maybe I am not searching for the right terms. Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks.

  • 2
    It's difficult to help you, because your question is so unspecific. What exactly do you need to know? Many of these specific questions may already have been answered on this site as well as on Wikipedia, e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_journal – henning -- reinstate Monica Jan 17 '19 at 12:11
  • Imagine a student who doesn't get a proper intro to research publications during his studies. Where would you point him? – DSM Jan 18 '19 at 13:14
  • Or imagine a technical writing teacher who needs to familiarize their students about everything they need to know about conference publications and journals, what resource should they use? – DSM Jan 18 '19 at 13:17

The academic publication system in a nutshell:

  • Researchers submit their work for review to relevant journals or conference, depending mostly on how well the topic matches the scope of the journal/conference.
  • Articles are evaluated by other researchers who are experts in the topic (peer reviewing).
    • Different journals/conference might differ by their review process (length, quality, blind review, etc.)
    • Reviewers can accept or reject the work. Journals/conferences have different acceptance rates; the number of submissions that they receive depends on their reputation.
  • The actual publication of the accepted papers is done by the publisher of the journal/conference. There are commercial and non-commercial publishers.
    • Traditionally papers are simply sold by the publisher. This practically limits the readership to researchers (universities subscribe to publishers journals).
    • Open access publications have increased in some scientific domains recently: articles are provided for free by the publisher, either because they are paid by the editor or because they are non-commercial.

The impact factor of a journal is a metric based on how many times in average a paper published in this journal is cited. It is commonly used as a measure of the reputation of a journal/conference.


what does impact factor mean


how important is this metric


who has the right of distributing the article considering I want my research to be publicly and freely available

The publisher is typically granted sole distribution rights, with exceptions for distribution via personal websites and sites such as arXiv

what is general process of writing and review

That's been answered elsewhere on this forum.

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