Optimising your research impact

Learn how to optimise your research impact using traditional and emerging metrics..

Publish your research

Publishing your research for maximum impact and visibility involves thinking strategically about the audience for your research, selecting and evaluating appropriate journals or other sources, and preparing your manuscript.

New and early researchers can develop expertise and contacts by consulting supervisors or research leaders, creating an ORCiD iD, collaborating with other researchers, joining scholarly researcher networks such as ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley (see Managing your profile) and contacting Subject Librarians.

Select publication sources

When selecting possible publication sources such as books and journals, consider and review:

  • The potential or target audiences for your publication - who will read and cite your work
  • Where the audience is located (national, international)
  • Your timeframe for completing your item for publishing
  • Journals that you read or cite for your research and their relevance to your proposed publication
  • How often a publication is issued (frequency of journal issues per year or volume, see journal websites)
  • Author guidelines on journal websites
  • The publication is indexed by Scopus or Web of Science
  • The publisher provides a unique Digital Object Identifier or DOI
  • Quality or impact factor of the publication (see Measuring impact)
  • Open access publishing options (see Open Access)
  • Online tools for selecting journals (see Journal selection tools)
  • Unethical and deceptive publishing practices (see Unethical publishing practices)

For more detail see the Royal Society Te Apārangi guidelines for Selecting a quality publisher and the Think, Check, Submit website 


Measuring impact

The impact of publications is a key consideration in a researcher's career and in selecting publication sources. As a measure of research, impact is multidimensional, complex, variable and often controversial. Factors include the context in which research takes place, the stakeholders, subject disciplines, and the intended application of research.

Citation metrics, or bibliometrics, is the science of measuring citations to publications, and can be calculated in different ways (see  Citation analysis).

Journal metrics track citation patterns to identify  influential journals in terms of citations received, and can be an important factor when considering where to publish. Many journals advertise their impact factor and rankings from Journal Citation reports (see  Journal metrics).

More recent developments include alternative metrics (see Altmetrics) that measure and report references, citations, posts or mentions via social networking sources. As an indicator of research usage metrics are moving beyond academic or scholarly journal citations to assessing impact from a broader social, or societal, and economic sense.

Publons: Record and measure peer reviews that you undertake. A Publons profile provides evidence of your peer review activity that can contribute to your reputation, promotion and grant applications.

Open Access publishing

Open access (OA) or Open Scholarship refers to publishing research and data; to provide unrestricted access, often in non-commercial sources. Open access journal publications are peer-reviewed, with editorial standards. Some have significant journal impact factors, and receive high levels of citations.

The first OA declaration was made on 14 February 2002, by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), a collection of research societies, universities and publishers to launch a worldwide campaign for open access (OA) to scholarly journal literature through self-archiving, open access journals and other strategies.

Advantages of open access publishing

  • reducing cost barriers to research
  • expediting wider sharing of research and related data
  • public access to publicly funded research
  • can increase citations in some disciplines, both scholarly and alternative.

Types of open access publications:

  • gold: open access peer-reviewed journals, freely available on the internet. Publishers charge article process charges (APCs) or fees (APFs). Researchers can choose to publish in fully OA journals, see the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
  • hybrid: scholarly journal publishers offer a combination of subscription access and open access. Researchers may be approached by a hybrid publisher to pay a fee for open and immediate access. Be aware of predatory publishers with unethical practices.
  • greenscholarly journal publishers permit researchers to deposit or self-archive publications in institutional repositories such as the Victoria Research Archive, and subject repositories such as the arXiv preprint archive for physics, mathematics, computer science; RePeC (Research Papers in Economics), the Social Sciences Research Network provide free unlimited online access to self-archived versions of publications.  
  • diamond: open access scholarly publishing free of fees and access charges

nzresearch.org.nz includes peer-reviewed and other research from universities, polytechnics, and research organisations

Search SHERPA/RoMEO to determine publisher policies on self-archiving and paid OA.

Many funders now require or encourage open access publishing, archiving and/or data archiving as a condition with grant allocations. Search SHERPA/JULIET by country or funder name to determine policies.

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), a searchable and browsable database of Open Access books, is a source of open access book publishers and presses. 

Further reading:

Tohatoha (formerly Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand): Open Access campaign

The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group discussion

McKiernan, E. C., Bourne, P. E., Brown, C. T., Buck, S., Kenall, A., Lin, J., . . . Yarkoni, T. (2016). How open science helps researchers succeed [a literature review]. eLife, 5, e16800. doi:10.7554/eLife.16800


Journal selection tools

Journal selection tools can help you select journals that include articles in your field. Some provide journal impact factors and publishing parameters:

  • Journal TOCs. Browse and search tables of contents of 29,000 journals
  • Cabells Journal Whitelist a searchable, curates database of critical information about verified and reputable academic journals. Each journal selected for inclusion has been evaluated and revised by specialists.
  • Wiley Journal Finder Search Wiley journals by keyword, abstract; search or browse journal titles, subject area
  • Elsevier Journal Finder Search Elsevier journals by title and abstract to find journal titles and their publishing parameters
  • Scopus Compare Sources Search by keywords in journal title, ISSN or publisher to compare up to 10 journals
  • Manuscript ​Matcher from Clarivate Analytics EndNote Online. Enter article title, abstract and/or references from your EndNote libraries to find suggested journal titles.
  • Springer Journal Selector Search through Springer journals by abstract, research description or sample text, and refine results by impact factor, publishing model and open access.
  • Edanz journal selector Search across multiple disciplines in international journals. Enter keywords, field of study, journal name, publisher or abstract.
  • Web of Science Search by publication name, click on the title for the impact factor, select Analyse Results or Create Citation Report for more information.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals Search by keywords to find journals and articles in Open Access journals
  • JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator) Search medical and health related journals. Enter keywords, a title and/or abstract, to find similar articles and journals indexed in Medline in the last 10 years.
  • JournalGuide from Research Square focuses on biomedical journals. Search by paper title, abstract, journal titles, subject category. Uses Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP).

Unethical publishing practices

Predatory publishers exhibit unethical practices such as inviting researchers to publish with them but provide minimal or no editing, restricting author's rights, and often charging fees.


ThinkCheckSubmit website suggests steps to take and consider before selection of a publication source to verify the credentials of publishers: checking with colleagues, reviewing editorial boards, indexing of journals, fees and peer review practices, ability to contact publishers.

Cabells Journal Blacklist a searchable database that identifies deceptive and fraudulent journals. Specialists identify and analyse over 65 behavioural indicators to flag potentially exploitative or dishonest operations. Each entry in the Journal Blacklist provides information on how to identify the journal in the real world as well as a comprehensive report of each behavioural indicator that was uncovered in the journal’s evaluation.

COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) promotes integrity in publishing, with discussion, advice and guidelines on topics such as author misconduct (being unaware of articles submitted in their name), misuse of data.

Publons, the peer-review aggregator, offers alternatives to Beall's list, including its own Journal List.

Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory open access publishers was issued annually since 2011 until January 17, 2017.  Beall's List criteria for identifying possible and potential predatory publishers included limited geographic diversity in editorial board membership and authors, gender bias, false impact factor claims. The list became controversial and is no longer at its original location. The list information as at January 31, 2017 is available as a static website but is no longer updated.


ThinkCheckAttend is an initiative that guides researchers when deciding whether to attend a conference, submit an abstract or present their research. The 3-step approach encourages academics to ‘Think’ about the problem posed by predatory or substandard conferences, ‘Check’ the conference against a set of criteria designed to highlight attributes of good and bad quality conferences, and ‘Attend’ only if the conference adheres to the criteria consistent with a legitimate conference.