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App leads researchers to publishing opportunities

18 Aug 2014

Researchers are a step closer to finding their work published, thanks to an app developed at the University of Otago.

HelpMePublish is assisting researchers in more than 20 countries to connect with journals that may provide publishing options.

"The academic research publishing industry is huge," Associate Professor James Maclaurin, says. "It's now worth over $20 billion per year and it publishes around one million academic papers per year.

"With numbers of published papers growing by around 9% per year, getting published is increasingly an uphill battle particularly for young researchers who must choose from hundreds of journals in their subject area and often find it difficult to get good information about how those journals work."

Maclaurin is from the Department of Philosophy and developed the concept for the HelpMePublish app, working in partnership with the University’s commercialisation arm, Otago Innovation Limited (OIL).

The HelpMePublish app contains a ‘whitelist’ of about 5000 journals across 13 subject areas in the Arts, Business and Science.

Journals are sent a single page form by the database, seeking key publishing information such as acceptance rates, refereeing style, and publication fees.

The app enables the researcher to search for appropriate journals, and refine their results based on the details provided, such as acceptance rates, anonymity in peer review, and quality of editorial comment.

"It is a support system for academics, in many respects, providing a whole lot of hints and tips via the @HMP_Project twitter feed which they might not have known before,” Dr Graham Strong, OIL’s commercialisation manager says.

“Through the apps crowd-sourcing capability academics early in their career can benefit from more experienced researchers who 'rate' their experience with a journal."

Strong says HelpMePublish can also assist by raising the profile of newly established journals, with journal editors able to contribute details to the app.

"HelpMePublish is like a marketplace for information between journals and researchers with research showing that 80 per cent of the information that journals give us is information they don't put on their websites,” Maclaurin says.

“So this really is trying to change the way researchers and journals communicate."