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Graduate Student Library Services: Presentations & Publishing

The Process

While the submission process can be a bit daunting, creating a proposal for a conference presentation is a relatively straightforward endeavor.

1. First, choose a conference that aligns well with the topic you would like to submit a proposal for.  

Some conferences are inundated with proposals on a particular topic, making the acceptance rate much more competitive.  Some conferences actively solicit proposals on certain topics because very few are submitted, but the topic is of great interest to the conference goers.  You want to find a conference where your contribution will be both appreciated and meet the audience's needs (and of course, where you yourself will learn a great deal). 

2. Read the Call for Proposals carefully, noting the conference theme, and identify the best conference thread for your presentation as well as the most appropriate format or time slot, if applicable.  

Many larger conferences ask the proposal submitters to categorize their proposals according to the special interest  groups (SIGs) the professional organization sponsoring the conference has, or according to topics of interest in the field.  As you put your submission together, consider ways you might make it appealing to the various groups the conference caters to.  Smaller interest groups might have fewer submissions, and therefore less competition for your proposal.  Popular or trendy topics in a field might get more consideration during the acceptance process since the conference committee wants to provide the attendees with presentations that interest them.    

You also want to be sure to choose a format that best fits the material you have to present.  Common types include demonstrations, posters, workshops, panels, roundtables, and paper presentations.  Look at the time and requirements (and sometimes number of persons) for each before choosing the one that best fits what you intend to do at your presentation.  Your proposal should reflect these elements. 

Actively think about how you can tie your presentation to the conference's theme as well.  Sometimes a proposal's clear relationship to the conference theme can be what tips the scale in your submission's favor.

Be sure to print up the Call for Proposals and mark everything that must be included in your proposal, especially criteria by which the proposal will be assessed.  There are often length restrictions, especially for the titles and abstracts to be included in the conference program.  If you are working with others, determine who will be the main contact for the submission and double check that their contact information is correct before submitting the proposal.  

3. Write your proposal and abstract for submission, and gather any other information needed before you begin the submission process.

Take the time to write a strong proposal, but give yourself plenty of time to meet the submission deadline.  Most conferences do not make exceptions for late submissions due to technical difficulties or unforeseen circumstances.

Again, be sure you read all the information in the Call for Proposals (some proposals are very long! It is important to read every section), and that you use the conference theme in your proposal.  And cite!  Include any references necessary, and check the submission guidelines to see if references are included in the word count limit for the proposal.  

Sometimes conference submissions require a proposal and a separate abstract (which will be displayed in the conference schedule).  Most proposals are longer versions of your abstract, so writing your abstract first could help you make the proposal writing process faster. 

In general, you want to include an overview of who your intended audience is, the context your topic comes from or will be presented for, any theories or frameworks used, and then the information itself.  Some questions to ask yourself as you write your proposal are, "How does my work connect to the theme of the conference?" and "How is my work different or unique within the general scholarship in my field?"  Your proposal should also make clear what type of information or presentation you plan on giving, such as discussing research or a new theory or giving a demonstration of a technique. 

Your abstract should reflect the best standards of your field.  Look at peer-reviewed journal articles for examples of abstracts if you need some ideas.

If you are hoping to present on a research project not yet completed, give as much information as possible so that the conference committee knows the work will be ready and worthy by the time of the conference.  Vague or thin proposals are generally not going to be accepted.

Keep copies of all the work you upload to the conference site and keep the Call for Proposals too.  If you do not get a "receipt" email, contact the person listed on the submission website or on the Call for Proposals immediately.  Follow up a month after the closing date if you still have no news (or a few weeks after they say you should hear from them). 

4. If your proposal is accepted, but sure to stick to it!

The proposal and the abstract you wrote originally were accepted for the information you included in them.  The conference committee accepted the proposal because it fit the conference's needs, and conference attendees will be coming to your presentation based on the abstract's information.  If you change your presentation, you run the risk of bad evaluations from your session participants and possibly not being seen as a viable speaker in other situations (conference presentations are a good place to begin getting invited to speak elsewhere!). 

5. If your proposal is not accepted, Use the feedback to improve your proposal for another conference, or for next year.

Most conferences provide submitters with feedback if the proposal has not been accepted.  Keep this feedback; it can help you revise your proposal for submission elsewhere or the following year, or to use in your portfolio (sometimes the reviewers will love your work, but the conference does not have space available that particular year).

See the box to the right for eBooks to help you write and present at conferences.  For another book and more resources, visit the Conference Write-Ups page. 

Presentation Opportunities

Sign up for email listservs for areas and organizations of interest. Throughout the year you will receive call-for-paper announcements and conference notifications.

Check the websites of national organizations in your field of study for their annual conference dates and presentation opportunities. Below are several organizations that provide opportunities to network as well as possible presentation forums for graduate students.

Publishing Resources

Graduate students are in the process of becoming professionals. Publishing as a graduate student shows future employers that you are serious about working in your chosen field. It also gives you more materials to impress prospective employers.

  • Gain experience with the peer-review process.
  • Publications can be added to your resume or LinkedIn page.
  • Share your work with the world! Even as an student, you can engage in and write about impactful original research that people far and wide may want to know about.

The first question in publishing is to decide what and where to publish.

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are your goals?
  • What are your advisor’s goals?

Considerations about a journal include:

  • High impact - do others consider it one of the best and is that important to you?
  • Accessible to industry or the public - does it have an Open Access policy so those without a subscription can get to the content?
  • Support your professional society - is it published by a society or is it a commerical venture?
  • Online presence - is it accessible online or in print only?
  • Findable - is it indexed and the online version searched by web engines?
  • Timeliness - what's the review process and timing?
  • Find impact factors.
  • Find Open Access journals in your field be searching the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Use the 'browse" feature to search by subjects.
  • Find out about the publisher's and journal's copyright and access policies policies at SHERPA/RoMEO.
  • Work with your professors, advisor, and librarians. They know which journals are reputable.

Find out more about amending the copyright transfer agreements at SPARC (Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition)


There are various ways of measuring research impact, particularly through traditional means of publishing and citation. Before you begin to delve into the various citation metrics, we recommend you do the following:

An author's impact on their field or discipline has traditionally been measured using the number of times their academic publications are cited by other researchers. There are numerous algorithms, e.g. H-Index, G-Index, i10-Index, that account for such things as the currency of the publication, and poorly or highly cited papers. While citation metrics may reflect the impact of research in a field, there many more potential biases with these measurements and should be used with care. For a critique of author impact factors, read this article in Chronicle of Higher Education.

1. H-Index - used to quantify research output by measuring author productivity and impact.

H-Index = number of papers (h) with a citation number ≥ h. Example: A scientist with an H-Index of 37 has 37 papers cited at least 37 times.

Advantages of the H-Index

  • Allows for direct comparisons within disciplines.
  • Measures quantity and impact by a single value.

Disadvantages of the H-Index

  • Does not give an accurate measure for early-career researchers.
  • Calculated by using only articles that are indexed in Web of Science, which is not available at MVC.

For additional information on H-Index, read - An index to quantity and individual's scientific research output an original paper by J.E. Hirsch proposing and describing the H-Index.

2. i10-Index - created by Google Scholar and used in Google's My Citations feature. It is a very simple measure that helps gauge the productivity of a scholar and is only used by Google Scholar.

i10Index = the number of publications with at least 10 citations.

Advantages of i10-Index

  • Very simple and straightforward to calculate.
  • My Citations in Google Scholar is free and easy to use.

Disadvantages of i10-Index

  • Used only in Google Scholar.

Here is a screenshot of a Google Scholar My Citations page for Charles Darwin with the I-10 index highlighted in the small table.

3. G-Index

The G-Index was proposed by Leo Egghe in his paper Theory and Practice of the G-Index in 2006 as an improvement on the H-Index.

Advantages of the G-Index

  • Accounts for the performance of author's top articles.

Disadvantages of the G-Index

  • Introduced in 2006, and debate continues whether G-Index is superior to H-Index.
  • May no be as widely accepted as H-Index.

Journal impact measurements reflect the importance of a particular journal in a field and take into account the number of articles published per year, as well as, the number of citation to articles published in that journal.



The advent of social media and web analytics has opened the door to new possibilities in exploring and quantifying the impact a journal makes.  Here are a few research resources that offer tools dealing with alternative metrics for evaluation of scholarly publications.

Understanding Open Access

What is Open Access (OA)?

The best ideas remain just that until they are shared and can by utilized by others. Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.

  • OA is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
  • Authors are still covered by copyright law, but OA terms apply to allow sharing and reuse.
  • Open Access is compatible with the features and services of scholarly literature and communication, including
    • copyright
    • peer review
    • indexing
    • preservation
    • prestige
    • quality
    • career advancement
  • Open Access does not mean an "open door" for publication. All major OA initiatives for scientific and scholarly literature insist on the importance of peer review.
  • Although open access journal are freely available for all to read, you as an author may pay to publish.  When evaluating an open access journal, consider whether it is addressed to and produced by a serious group of researchers from your discipline who are committed to communicating quality science.
  • Watch the difference between open access and predatory publishers.

For more information, see A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber or SPARC's site addressing how graduate students get involved.

What are Author Rights?

As soon as you begin creating a scholarly work in fixed medium, it is covered under copyright law and no other actions are necessary for it to be protected. However, when you sign a contract to publish that work, you may be asked to transfer your copyright. Some academic publishers may require that authors sign away the rights to their work but this does not have to be the case. Authors can retain rights in several ways; negotiating the author's addendum to the traditional scholarly contract, publishing under a Creative Commons license, and other open access alternatives.

  • You own what you create. As author of a work you are automatically the copyright holder. Copyright registration is not required.
  • You retain your copyright unless you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement, such as a journal publisher.
  • The copyright holder controls the work.
  • Transferring copyright does not have to be "all or nothing."
  • Your assignment of rights to publisher's could hinder your future uses of your work.

Learn what to look for in a publication agreement

Author Rights Resources

Publisher Policies

Below are links to the general copyright and archiving policies for major publishers. If your publisher is not included in the list, search SHERPA/RoMEO or consult the publisher's website.


Why Should I Publish in an OA Journal?

Open Access lowers permissions and price barriers between your research and potential readers. Thereby enabling access by researchers unlikely or unable to subscribe to a specialty publication,  to teachers, students, and the general public. 

Search for journals related to your subject in the Directory of Open Access Journals (link below). More and more traditional publishers such as Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, and society journals have Open Access journals. Visit publisher websites to see which OA options they offer before selecting a more traditional journal title that does not provide easy access to its content.

Unfortunately, while Open Access is a wonderful platform, predatory OA journals have appeared as well. These are journals more interested in collecting author's OA fees than in publishing and reviewing high quality content. Refer to the Predatory Publishers tab for more information as well as check the Cabell's Blacklist (see link below) for predatory journal titles.

Where Can I Find an Open Access Journal to Publish In?

What are Open Access Author Fees?

One of the models for supporting open access publishing is the use of author's fees, sometimes also called article processing charges. Under this model, for a fee, an author can publish their work openly, permitting unpaid access to research results and scholarly literature. The author's fee model allows publishers to cover the cost of scholarly publishing without charging its readers, while also making content available to a far broader, more diverse audience. The author's fee model is used by many scientific or hybrid journals, but not all, open access publications. The OA options available from publishers can be found at the SHERPA/RoMEO database.


Archiving in a repository helps make your research more discoverable and contributes to Open Access. The University digital repository, UDigital Commons, is managed by the Access Services Librarian, Charlotte Vandervoort, and the Archivist Librarian, Shelley Gayler-Smith, please contact them for more information about adding your article to the repository. Links to Open Access repositories as well as UDigital Commons are found below.

General Open Access Repositories

  • figshare A general repository to upload any research materials; papers, datasets, posters, videos, etc. Every deposited item receives a digital object identifier.

Humanities Open Access Repositories

  • ARK-Dok A repository for art history research.
  • PhilPapers A repository for philosophy research

Science Open Access Repositories

  • arXiv A repository for pre-prints (version that is submitted to a journal) of scientific papers in physics, mathematics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology, and statistics.
  • Earth-Prints A repository for earth science research.
  • Open Science Framework Provides a general repository for all disciplines, including the humanities and social sciences. Manage projects, share files, control access and collaboration, archive data, and view project analytics.
  • Zenodo General repository to share and preserve research outputs in any format, from any science discipline.

Social Science Open Access Repositories

Addendum - A legal document that describes additional terms to a prior agreement. It must be signed by both parties and incorporated as a part of the prior agreement.

Author rights/literary rights - Synonyms for copyright. Neither term has any legal significance.

Copyright - A legal protection for creative intellectual property works.

Copyright license - An agreement to permit another party to use all or some of their copyrights. Typically for a limited duration. E.g., Copyright owners should license to publishers the rights to copy and distribute their work so it can be disseminated in a professional publication, while they simultaneously retain their copyrights so they may also use their work.

Copyright transfer - A complete relinquishment of rights from one party to another. E.g., Many publishers prefer a complete copyright transfer so the publisher can use the work as they desire.

Embargo - A period of time in which an author or publisher prohibits the other party from making the underlying work publicly available.

Exclusive license -  An agreement permitting only one other party to use all or some of a copyright owner's rights. Typically for a limited duration. E.g., Publishers often prefer an exclusive license, which gives them the right to be the only party to engage in certain activities such as reproduction and distribution.

Irrevocable license - An agreement that cannot be changed or terminated. E.g., Most publishers prefer an irrevocable license because it ensures they can continue to engage in the rights granted to them in perpetuity.

Non-exclusive license - An agreement permitting one or more parties to use all or some of a copyright owner's rights.Typically for a limited duration. E.g., A copyright owner may enter into multiple non-exclusive licenses with multiple parties such that Party A has a license to copy and distribute for one year, but Party B has a license to copy, distribute, and publicly perform for three years.

Preprint - The author's final draft of a publication, before it undergoes peer review.

Postprint - The author's final draft of an accepted publication, including all changes made as a result of the peer review process, but before publisher copy editing and formating.

Revocable - An agreement that can be changed or terminated. E.g., Most authors should seek revocable licenses with publishers because it ensures the authors can end an agreement and retain the rights they licensed to a publisher.

Congratulations! Your latest research ahs been accepted for publication in a prestigious journal, but before you sign the publisher agreement, are you retaining the necessary rights under copyright to use your work?

As the author of a work, you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in signed agreement. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit it in digital repositories,or reuse portions in a subsequent work.

Your Basic Rights as an Author

  • The right to reproduce the work, for example through scanning and photocopying.
  • The right to prepare derivative works, including translations.
  • The right to distribute the work to others via a license, sale, or other means.
  • The right to display or perform the work publicly.
  • The right to let others exercise any of these rights.

What are your Options when Presented with a Publisher's Agreement?

  1. Transfer all of your rights to the publisher.
  2. Transfer the copyright to the publisher but retain certain rights.
  3. Retain all of your rights and license the rights to the publisher.

Note - No matter which option you choose, it is important to read the document carefully. Authors can make changes to any agreement in order to retain certain rights. The Science Commons Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine allows authors to retain the necessary rights to reuse their research. After you have entered your name, article title, journal, publisher, and selected the type of agreement, the engine automatically generates an addendum that be attached to the original agreement. If you receive a negative response from the publisher after submitting the addendum, explain why it is important to retain the rights to your work and how you plan to use the research. You should also consider publishing in an open access journal. Remember if in doubt, consult the University General Counsel before signing any contract.

Questions to Consider Before Signing  a Publisher Agreement

  • Would you like to send copies of the article to colleagues?
  • Do you want to post a copy on your course Web site or LMS?
  • Do you want to include a copy with your online CV?
  • Do you wan to deposit a copy in a digital repository?
  • Do you want to publish a translation of te article in another language?
  • Do you want to distribute copies for a a conference presentation?
  • Do you want to assign it as a reading to students?

 What is Creative Commons?

(from the Creative Commons website)

"Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work - on conditions of your choice; CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved."  Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify copyright terms to best suit your needs."

When you create something, you already have the copyright, but you can add the Creative Commons license layer to that work. YOU ARE NOT giving up the copyright with a Creative Commons license, but are specifically modifying your copyright to communicate to others how they can use your work.

There are six Creative Commons licenses, each indicate the use parameters granted by the content creator.

  • Attribution only or CC-BY License
  • Attribution-ShareAlike or CC BY-SA
  • Attribution-NonCommercial or CC BY-NC
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike or CC BY-NC-SA
  • Attribution-NoDerivs or CC BY-ND
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs or CC BY-NC-ND

Use the Infographic and the examples below to help learn more about which Creative Commons license to use and when.

  • Are you okay with someone using your work for any purpose (classroom teaching, translation, sharing online), but do not want them to be able to use it commercially? CC-BY-NC is probably the right license for you.
  • Do you want to allow others to copy, distribute, remix, or perform your work without restrictions? Use CC-BY
  • Perhaps you are okay with your research being reproduced, distributed, and shared, but do not want it to be translated or used for commercial purposes. Then CC-BY-ND is the right license to choose.

Disclaimer: The information on Creative Commons Licensing should be read for informational purposes only. This subject guide and its resources do not constitute legal advice.

Tips for Presenting at a Conference

Before the presentation

  • Check what equipment you will need.  

The resources available for presenters at the conference center are usually described either in the Call for Proposals or in the acceptance letter.  It is important to assess your equipment needs and be sure you are set up before your presentation begins.  While most rooms at a conference will have projectors and screens, not all conferences have Internet in every room.  It is also not uncommon for presenters to need to bring their own laptops, connector cables, or the like, especially Mac users.   

If you do not see the equipment information anywhere--the conference website, the acceptance letter, the Call for Proposals, etc.--or your presentation has unique space or technology requirements, contact the conference organizers immediately.  

  • Put together and practice your presentation.     

Rehearse well and feel comfortable with your material before you leave for the conference.  For ideas on practicing your public speaking, see Presentations and Presentation Skills.

One strategy for being sure your presentation is clear and well-organized is to use the information from your abstract as the basis.  A good rule of thumb is to think in threes: the three major elements, parts, or foci your presentation will explore; three examples of each; three sets of data; three bullet points per page, etc.  You will most likely choose to pare these down, for timing reasons if nothing else, but "threes" help your brain sort the ideas by what deserves "equal weight" (or should get equal emphasis during the presentation), and will help you decide whether more or less should be discussed to ensure the audience understands the material.

And of course, remember that your presentation is the embodiment of your original proposal submission.  The abstract for your presentation in the conference guide, based on your proposal, is what attracted conference participants to your presentation.  Deviating from your original proposal will not only result in negative feedback, but might also result in your losing potential contacts.  

 During the presentation:

  • Be confident!

You are a peer among peers.  They have come to learn something new from you and you are one of their own.  You deserve their respect, and you will do great!  

Have your contact information prominently displayed on your visual, and if possible have handouts and/or cards that also provide this information.

  • Speak clearly and pace yourself.

You do not want your audience to miss any of the information you have worked so hard to share with them.

  • If someone asks a question, rephrase it first to be sure you understood the question.

By rephrasing a question for the questioner, you increase the likelihood that you are answering the question asked, and not the question you think was asked. 

  • Be honest.

If someone asks you a question you do not know the answer to or are not sure about, admit it.  You can offer to find out the answer if it is something directly related to your work or presentation, and then follow up with the person who asked the question.  If you choose to follow up, be sure to do so in a timely manner and of course, get their contact information. 

After the presentation:

  • Take advantage of the networking opportunities.

Conferences are a great way to make new friends in the field.  Bring lots of business cards and mingle with your audience after the presentation if possible.  If your presentation is more interactive, feel free to take advantage of your audience’s knowledge and elicit information when interacting.


Scholarly publishing is rapidly changing. There are an increasing number of published journals, as well as many Open Access publishers, and publishing opportunities. Where you decide to publish is an important consideration.

Have Similar Studies Been Published?

Many of the library research databases will provide you with a ranked list of journal titles based on your search results. You can search for papers in the general area of your research, and then look for a listing (generally to the left of the search results) labeled Publications, Sources, or Journals. These are typically listed , most to least, in the number of papers published in each title.  Start with the list to identify journals in your subject area to investigate further.

Journal Article Submission 

Submitting a Journal Manuscript and Peer Review - SpringerNature

Choosing a Journal - (Taylor & Francis) Questions to ask when choosing a journal to publish in.

How to Target a Journal that's Right for your Research (SciDevNet) How to find a reputable journal to publish in.

Elsevier's College of Skills Training (Elsevier) Set of lectures, videos, and quick guides for navigating the publication process.

Finding a Journal

There are many factors to consider when determining the most appropriate journals in which to publish your research. Below are some tips to get you started.

  • Discipline relevance and reaching the desired target audience.
  • Journal quality or impact.
  • Prestige of the editorial team, contributors, or journal circulation.
  • Open access policy.


How to Find a Publisher

  • Get advice from mentors, faculty advisors, and colleagues.
  • Search Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities database and other resources listed in the" How to Find a Journal for your Article" tab.

Below you will find listings of several scholarly publications to consider submitting an article. For more suggestions, please consult the "How to Find a Journal for your Article" tab.

Literary Studies, Philology, Modern Languages, Classical Tradition, Cross-Disciplinary

Politics, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology, Social Sciences

Organizations and publishers will often issue "Calls for Papers" on a specific topic, either for an upcoming conference or symposium or for a special topics issue of a journal publication.

  • WikiCFP List calls for papers in technology and science fields. Searchable and sortable, with option of subscribing to RSS feed for topic areas.
  • ResearchBib: Academic Resource Index Searches for CFPs for conferences, journal issues, and books in all areas. Can limit by country, year, and keyword.
  • Conference Alerts All topics covered; browse by subject or location, or search by keyword.
  • H-Net CFPs Calls for papers in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Call for Papers (University of Pennsylvania) Calls for papers in English, cultural criticism and related fields

You may also want to do a web search for Calls for Papers (CFPs) and your topic. Just add your keywords to the search below.


Google Web Search

Conferences allow for sharing of information and presenting at a conference will increase the exposure of your research and provide an opportunity for feedback. Presenting at a conference that offers both peer review and publishes conferenceproceedings, gives you an academic publication.

Tips for Choosing a Conference

  • Is conference a national or international event?
  • Are the papers peer reviewed?
  • Will the papers be published, and if so, where will they be indexed?

Evaluating the Quality of the Conference - Factors to Consider

  • Impact of previous papers.
  • History or longevity of the conference.
  • Relationship to industry.
  • Submission and acceptance rates.

Make your Paper Available

*Papers from a conference may be collated into conference proceedings and published as a book or in a special issue of a journal.

  • Turn your conference paper into a journal article.
    • If a conference Proceedings is not published, rework the paper and publish it as a journal article.
    • Some journals may accept previously published conference papers with revision.
      • Ensure that copyright has not been assigned to the conference organizers. It may be necessary to obtain written permission from the copyright holder to republish in a journal.
  • Make your paper Open Access.



Presentation Opportunities

Sign up for email listservs for areas and organizations of interest. Throughout the year you will receive call-for-paper announcements and conference notifications.

Check the websites of national organizations in your field of study for their annual conference dates and presentation opportunities. Below are several organizations that provide opportunities to network as well as possible presentation forums for graduate students.

Conferences provide an audience to provide feedback on your research, which may be used to revise and submit your paper for publication. In some disciplines, conferences are the expected way of publicizing new research. Conference presentations  may be in the form of a paper, a poster, or a lightning (brief) talk.

Poster Sessions

Posters are ways of communicating your work visually and concisely to interested viewers. They combine succinct written communication withe effective appealing graphic displays and the verbal skills of the presenter. A poster session is a good opportunity, not only to explain and promote your research, but to get feedback on it, make connections with researchers working in related areas, and possibly meet a future employer.

Commonly, the sponsoring conference, association, or agency establishes guidelines for the appearance of the presented poster so double-check the guidelines before beginning.

Lightning Talks

Many conferences and workshops have moved from the traditional presentation and poster sessions to use alternative mechanisms for disseminating information. Lightning talks allow many speakers to present in a session. They are typically five minutes long and provide a framework to get to the essence of what you are trying to say in the least amount of time.

How can you learn to give a good lightning talk? 

  • Delivery is often more important than context. This does not mean your content should not be good, but that you do not want the audience to forget everything you said because your delivery was poor. 
    • Practice. Make eye contact with the audience, be prepared to stop earlier or handle awkward questions,.
  • Make your point and make it quickly - do not leave it to the end.
    • Think of what you want the audience to discover. If you are talking about your research, are you presenting the audience with an unsolved question or the answer?  
  • When using slides, use large images and as little text as possible.
    • Lightning talks provide an exciting idea is a short space of time. Your talk should inspire them to search for further details on your work.
    • Do not crowd the slide with unnecessary information. You only one or two words per slide, and have a pointer to your website or email for further details.

Conference Paper Presentation

One of the best ways to become involved in a profession is to attend a conference and present your research. Presenting provides an opportunity to discuss your research, refine your ideas, network, and gain recognition in a particular area.

Understanding Predatory Publishers

What is a predatory publisher?

A predatory publisher is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.

The academic "publish or perish" scenario combined with the relative ease of website creation has inadvertently created a market ripe for the exploitation of academic authors. Some of these publishers are predatory on purpose, while others may just be making mistakes due to neglect, mismanagement, or inexperience. While the motivations and methods vary they have common characteristics:

  • Their primary goal is to make money.
  • They do not care about the quality of the work published.
  • They make false claims or promises.
  • They engage in unethical business practices.
  • They fail to follow accepted standards or best practices of scholarly publishing.

How Predatory Publishing Works

Online predatory publishers take advantage of the "author-pays" open access publication model. In this model, publication charges provide a publisher with income instead of subscriptions.

It's important to realize that publishing open access does not make a publisher predatory, their bad behavior does.

Predatory publishers exploit new publishing models by claiming to be legitimate open-access publishing operations. They make false claims (such as fast peer-review) to lure unwary authors into submitting papers. While sending a predatory publisher, a manuscript may see it "published" there is no guarantee that it underwent peer review, is included in indexes, or that it will be available in a month much less in five years.

What's the harm?

Predatory publishers do authors a disservice by claiming to be a full-service publisher. Remember, as an author you are providing a valuable product and legitimate publishers provide valuable services to protect your work. Outlined below are some of the dangers of publishing with a predatory publisher:

Your work may be subject to sub-par peer-review

The peer-review system isn't perfect, but there is a consensus that papers that undergo peer-review are better for it. If you plan to seek promotion or tenure, you want to make sure you are publishing in a place that values your work and is willing to devote time and resources to improving it.

Your work could disappear

One of the advantages of publishing with a responsible publisher is that they make commitments to preserve your work. Opportunists looking to make a quick profit are not going to care if your paper is still available in 5 years, much less tomorrow. This situation is the stuff of nightmares if you plan to go up for tenure or promotion.

Your work will be hard to find

Some predatory publishers advertise that they are included in well-known databases when they are not. While most predatory journals will probably be covered by Google Scholar,  your work won't be as visible if it's missing from other research databases.


While the repercussions of publishing with questionable publishers are still largely unknown, there have been a few documented cases where it has hurt careers.

Types of Predators:

There are four common types of predatory publishers characterized by different behaviors:


Lures you in with promises then charges substantial fees after your paper has been "accepted."


Poses as a well-established journal or as a publication associated with a well-known brand or society. Often these journals add an extra word to an existing journal name such as "Advances," "Review," or "Reports." They may often create websites that appear to be affiliated with another publication.

Trojan Horse

Has a legitimate appearing website, often with impressive lists of publications, but on closer inspection, nothing is as it seems. The journals are empty shells or populated by stolen/plagiarized articles.


Too good to be true! These publishers may, in fact, be legitimate businesses but are not providing good products or customer support/service. Common problems may include no archiving policy; missing or ill-defined peer-review criteria; and possible publishing ethics violations.

Deciding if a publisher is predatory is often a matter of evaluating publisher practices against expectations. The 10 warning signs below are evidence-based and serve as a good starting point.

Warning Signs

  1. The journal's scope of interest includes unrelated subjects alongside legitimate topics.
  2. Website contains spelling and grammar errors.
  3. Images or logos are distorted/fuzzy or misrepresented/unauthorized.
  4. Website targets authors, not readers e.g., publisher prioritizes making money over product.
  5. There is no clear description of how the manuscript is handled.
  6. Rapid publication is promoted and promised.
  7. There is no article retraction policy.
  8. There is no digital preservation plan for content.
  9. A journal that claims to be open access either retains copyright f published research or fails to mention copyright.
  10. Contact email address is non-professional and non-journal/publisher affiliated e.g., or

Other Warning Signs:

Publishing costs and fees are not openly disclosed or easy to locate.

  • It is standard practice to let authors know the cost of publication before submission. This is part of the OASPA Code of Conduct.

The peer-review process is not clearly explained or is not to discipline standards.

  • Beware of promises of quick peer-review as this can be the mark of a publisher who values profit over quality. There is concern that papers submitted to journals that advertise this type of service are not actually providing peer-review.

Advertises a Journal Impact Factor but doesn't have one.

  • Check Cabell's Blacklist or one of the internet journal impact factor websites provided in the Publishing Opportunities tab.

The publisher or journal's name is suspiciously similar to other well-know publications.

Avoiding Predators

The best way to avoid a predatory publisher is to have expectations of good services and products. Below are some examples but you should develop your own expectations.

Example expectations:

  1. Publications are regular, contain more than one article, and occur in a timely manner.
  2. Clear, easy-to-find statements on peer-review procedure and policies.
  3. Clear, easy-to-find statements on publishing charges.
  4. Clear, easy-to-find statements on which rights authors retain to their work (aka copyright transfer procedures and licensing).
  5. A digital archiving policy or statement that demonstrates a commitment to making your work available and accessible for a long time, i.e. what is their backup plan?

General Advice

  • Be cautious.
  • Do not sign anything or send payment if you are unsure.
  • Consider talking with University of Dallas Legal Counsel.

If you are suddenly appointed an article to review without your consent

  • You are under no obligation to review something that you di not volunteer for.
  • You may want to contact the publisher and notify them you did not agree to review and/or to not contact you again.
  • You can add the sender's email to your junk/spam list.

If your name is misappropriated

*Predatory publishers have been known to list people's names as editors, board members, or reviewers without their knowledge or consent.

  • Contact the journal/publisher immediately and ask that they take your name off all their materials.
  • Make it clear in other venues that you are not associated with the publication.
  • Consider talking with the University of Dallas Legal Counsel.