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Open Access and the Aalto University: Choosing a journal to submit your work to


Embargo refers to a period of time defined by the publisher, calculated from the publishing time of the original publication, during which the author has no permission of publishing a self-archived open access copy of a publication

APC (article processing charge) refers to a fee often gathered to cover the costs of gold open access publishing, e.g. the costs of the peer-review process. 

Pre-print refers to the work as it was when submitted to the publisher for peer-review, i.e. pre-peer-review version of the article.  

Post-print (also final draft or author accepted manuscript) refers to the post-peer-review version of the work as it was before the publisher created the final layout for the work (logos, etc.)

Final published version (also publisher PDF) refers to the work in the form in which the publisher disseminates it.

Services that provide journal rankings

Federation of Finnish Learned Societies' Publication Forum (Julkaisufoorumi in Finnish)

Thomson Reuters' Impact Factor listings in the Journal Citation Reports database (licensed product, Aalto IT-identifier and password required)

Elsevier’s SCImago journal rankings

Choosing a journal to submit your work to

High quality journals that maximize the scientific impact 

The Aalto University open access policy states that the results of the research conducted at Aalto University are published in channels that maximize the scientific impact. This is also in line with, for example, the recommendation of the Academy of Finland (17 September 2014): “We further recommend that researchers publish their results in open-access scientific journals, if there are such journals in the field in question that are at least of the same high quality as traditional subscription journals.” The quality of the journal is of importance and it is especially important to avoid the so-called predatory journals further examined below.

Tools for examining the quality of a journal

Publication Forum (Julkaisufoorumi in Finnish) is a national tool developed by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Publication Forum classifies journals into three different categories according to their perceived quality: 1 = basic; 2 = leading; 3 = top (0 = not listed). Journals are evaluated by 23 expert panels; please see the Publication Forum website for details. The Publication Forum classification is freely available online. The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture considers Publication Forum as the primary tool for evaluating the quality of a journal, and the quality of publications affects the ministry funding allocated to the university.  

One of the most recognised international tools for measuring the impact of journals is the Thomson Reuter’s Impact Factor listings.  The Impact Factor listings study the citations received in a given year by the journal’s articles published during two previous years and rank journals by the average number of citations per published paper. For example a journal’s 2014 two-year impact factor would be calculated as follows. The number of times the articles published in 2012–2013 were cited during 2014 (by works indexed in Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science) divided by the total number of articles published in the journal during 2012-2013. Thomson Reuter’s Journal Impact Factors can be viewed through their Journal Citation Reports database. Journal Citation Reports is a licensed product, which can be accessed through this link (Aalto IT username and password required). Elsevier’s Scimago service offers similar citation-based journal rankings and is freely available online.

Publishing in journals that are indexed in large multidisciplinary databases such as Thomson Reuter’s Web of Knowledge or Elsevier’s Scopus may increase the visibility of your research.

Vanity publishing and predatory publishers

As some journals have questionable motives for their publishing activity, you should be very careful when choosing a journal. Journals that send spam mail to a large number of researchers can turn out to be either vanity publishing companies or outright predatory publishers. When you have received a grant or published your thesis you may get an e-mail from at least one of these publishers. They have very impressive homepages and they may even include logos of respectable international organizations and fictional impact factors on their pages in order to appear more convincing. The scientific community discusses these predatory publishers openly online: you can find these discussions by performing simple searches on the publisher and journal names to assess whether getting published by them is an academic merit or a liability. According yo ICMJE's ethical recommendations, authors have a responsibility to evaluate the integrity, practices and reputation of the journal to which they submit manuscripts. If you are unsure of the scientific quality of a journal, please contact

Journals listed in Publication Forum (levels 1, 2 and 3), Thomson Reuter’s Web of Knowledge or Elsevier’s Scopus are guaranteed to be established academic journals.

Read more on predatory publishers

Beall, J. 2012. Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, vol. 489 (7415). doi:10.1038/489179a.

Beall, J. 2013. Predatory publishing is just one of the consequences of gold open access. Learned Publishing, vol. 26 (2), pp. 1741-4857. doi:10.1087/20130203.  

Butler, D. 2013. Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing. Nature, vol. 495 (7442), pp.433-435. doi:10.1038/495433a. 

ICMJE. 2018. Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.


Not sure about the quality of a journal?

Consult your research community first! If that is not possible, we will glad to help you. Contact

Deposit your accepted manuscript into the ACRIS research information system

ACRIS Research Information System

ACRIS help

Instructions on open self-archival of manuscripts

Open access elsewhere national website of open access publishing

Avoin tiede ja tutkimus 2014-2017 -hanke

RECODE (Policy RECommendations for Open Access to Research Data in Europe)

FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research)

SPARC Europe (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

European Commission background note on open access to publications and data in Horizon 2020