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Publishing Academic Research: Being Strategic

This guide provides information about strategic publishing, publishing agreements, Open Access and ERA specifications.

Developing your research and publishing strategy

Why is it so important to publish your research?

  • You have an ethical imperative to share the results of your research, especially because it will have been publicly funded in some way.
  • Publishing raises your profile, establishes you as a contributor in your field of research and may lead to opportunities for future collaborations.
  • Publishing exposes your research to testing and scrutiny by others in your field.
  • Publishing your research is a requirement and expectation of employment in academic and research institutions. 

Being strategic in your publishing will assist you to make the most of your time. Having a publishing strategy from the onset of a project, and developing the strategy throughout your career will ensure that you are effective in your research.

A well-developed strategy will allow you to focus on your research, leaving assessment exercises and benchmarking criteria e.g. ERA, PDPs and citations to "look after themselves". An impressive publishing record will also strengthen grant, job and promotion applications.

At JCU, we recommend you use the three elements described below to frame your strategy: Distinctiveness, Quality and Visibility.

Map of the world highlighting the Tropics

Compiled from NASA satellite images





Visibility: Showcase My Research


How is your research distinctive - or what can you do to make it distinctive? What strategies can you use to make you and your research stand out within your field so it is noticed by your target audience(s)?

  • The tropics is an important starting point. The niche distinctiveness of JCU is grounded in geography i.e. the tropics. How are you building on the JCU Tropical Agenda, as outlined in the JCU Statement of Strategic Intent?
  • Drawing on the niche positioning of JCU, how can you develop and target your research to make it locally relevant and globally important i.e. "glocalisation"? Local context provides knowledge and understanding that usefully serves an international community, while lessons learned beyond the local context can be brought back to serve our region. To develop this aspect of your strategy, you will need to go beyond the JCU Tropical Agenda, with more details.
  • What are the distinctive economic, environmental, social, political or cultural outcomes of your research?


There are two aspects to quality publishing:

  1. What you publish must be 'fit-for-purpose'. It needs to be relevant for your target audience i.e. the prospective users of your research findings.
  2. Where you publish is as important as what you publish. The reputation of the outlets in which you publish will be used as an indicator of the quality of your research outputs. See Choosing Quality for more information on choosing a journal. The concepts on this page can be adapted for other publishing outlets, including conference, book and popular publishing.

The quality of your work published in academic outlets will be assessed by standard academic markers e.g. number of publications and number of citations.

You also need to consider how you will disseminate your research in quality outlets that reach beyond your academic audience. Public sharing of your research findings has a heightened level of importance in our "post-truth" and "fake news" world, with the general public increasingly confused with trying to sort out fact from fiction. To help address this, The Conversation is a great place to publish authoritative, plain language articles about your research - and raise the visibility of your research.


Your audience includes those who are intrinsic to your academic field i.e. your colleagues and those who are external e.g. research users, communities, relevant professions, Government/policy makers and NGOs.

Presenting your research at conferences, participating in research networks and being active in your professional societies will raise the visibility of your research amongst your intrinsic audience.

To raise the visibility of your research to your external audience, use traditional and social media. Multi-media options e.g. videos and apps are particularly effective.

The Showcase my research image on the left displays many tools you can use to raise the visibility of your research. Check out the Researcher Profiles, Identifiers and Social Engagement LibGuide for information that will help you select tools for communicating your research, and get you started in using the tools.

Other tips for raising the visibility of your research are:

  • vary where you publish to spread the exposure of your research
  • publish outside of your immediate field of research to extend your readership
  • collaborate with colleagues from other research institutions, including people in other countries
  • collaborate with non-academics i.e. those who are external to your academic field of research

The visibility of your research will depend on it being easy to discover and access. Open Access is the best way to find and read about your research, for both your intrinsic and external audiences.

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