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Scientific Writing

A guide to resources for writing and citing in the sciences.

Publishing Articles

Once an article has been written and edited according to standard practices, authors can then seek publication of their works. To get published, there are steps authors must follow for their work to be considered credible, including peer review.

Peer Review

In scientific and professional writing, academic articles are frequently shown to have been "peer-reviewed". The peer review process is required for some journal publications to ensure the information included in an article is written effectively and accurately. Watch the short video below for more information on the peer review process.


How Do You Know if it's Peer Reviewed?

Search Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to determine if a journal is peer-reviewed or "refereed".

When searching the literature, it's also possible to limit search results to only include peer-reviewed journals.

Determining the Quality of Journals

Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period. This is one way to measure the scientific importance of a journal.

Not all journals have an official JIF: however, there are other methods for determining the quality of journals. This is called journal metrics. For more information, see:

New Media for Publishing Scientific Information

As technology advances, so do formats for publishing- especially in the sciences. One example is JoVE - Journal of Visualized Experiments. JoVE uses video technology to capture and transmit the multiple facets and intricacies of life science research. These videos are another way of communicating findings.

Open Access

While publication in scholarly journals is a necessary step in increasing one's scholarly profile, there are several ways of getting published (and many different journals to publish in). One route of publishing is doing so via open access, where research articles are made publicly available online and for no extra fee. Check out Gumberg's library guide on Open Access.

Determining OA Availability: Green vs. Gold

Gold OA               

Gold Open Access works are made freely and permanently available from the moment they are published through open access journals or repositories. Authors typically pay a fee to publish their work Gold OA

Green OA Green Open Access refers to works that are self-archived. Publishers may allow authors to place a version of their work on an OA platform like an institutional repository. Publishers determine the version of the article an author may share and may require an embargo period.

Some publishers offer Hybrid Journals, which include OA articles (authors paid a fee) as well as articles behind a paywall. Typically, access to the entire journal requires a subscription and the costs for libraries and scholars can be substantial. Many open access proponents decry hybrid journals as an unfair model meant to solely benefit the publishing company, as the costs for these journals tend to be higher and articles are less discoverable.   

Determining OA Copyright Restrictions: Gratis vs. Libre Publishing

Whereas Green OA and Gold OA describe where research is published and can be accessed, the terms Gratis and Libre refer to the copyright terms attached to these works and the manner in which they can be shared. 

Gratis OA information is available free of charge, but may still hold some copyright and licensing restrictions. 

Libre OA information is available free of charge and free of most licensing restrictions.  

For more information on green vs. gold open access, check out the resources/websites below: