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Judy Savageau and Len Levin on Identifying the Best Place to Publish Your Evaluation Findings

Hi! We’re Judy Savageau from UMass Medical School’s Center for Health Policy and Research and Len Levin from the medical school’s Lamar Soutter Library. With our evaluation and library colleagues, we’ve authored several previous posts on integrating library science and its resources (including our librarian colleagues) to both conduct and disseminate evaluation findings. Today, we highlight resources for dissemination, once the project is complete and there’s interest/permission in sharing findings with a larger audience. Often, identifying the right journal for dissemination is no easy task!

Lessons Learned:

  • Determine how generalizable results are and, specifically, what message you want to communicate. Many evaluation projects include case studies, non-experimental methods, and qualitative data collection that include results worthy of dissemination – but have a different level of generalizability.
  • Determine how you will communicate results in an article and if results are relevant to a particular group (e.g., policy makers, educators, other evaluators, community stakeholder groups).
  • Get to know journals in your field; some have a niche (e.g., policy-relevant, content-specific, methodologic, educational).
  • Determine where others have published in the same area or about the same population. Use your literature search to identify journals publishing similar work.

Hot Tips:

  • Publication takes time; persistence is crucial.
  • Set a realistic time frame; stay on track!
  • Publication is competitive.
  • Publishing in lead journals takes time and reputation.
  • Try several venues; don’t give up if first rejected.
  • Understand the publication process and differences between venues for publishing. Journals all have their own requirements. Familiarize yourself with Instructions to Authors.
  • Develop a thick skin!

Choosing an audience for dissemination and the correct journal can be supported with a number of resources your librarian colleagues can help with! Software programs (see below) can also help determine the ‘best’ place for publishing your work.

Rad Resources:

  • JANE: Journal/Author Name Estimator
  • By entering your title and/or abstract into the site’s search engine, JANE will compare your document to millions of Medline documents to find the best matching journals, authors or articles.
  • National Library of Medicine
    • If publishing in the biomedical arena, check to see if the journal is indexed in PubMed for wider readership and higher impact.
  • Contact the journal’s editor and inquire about his/her interest.
    • Every respectable journal has a website with information for authors and editor contact details. Read sample articles to assess how your article should be framed. You may need to submit a summary/abstract of your work for the editor to decide if they’re interested in reviewing the article.
    • Where NOT to publish!!
      • Predatory publishing has become an issue recently. Publishers with a “respectable-sounding” journal name contact you, asking for a manuscript. Typical results are loss of ownership and demands for high publishing fees. If solicited, check the title/publisher against Beall’s List.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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