Scholarly Publishing with Open Praxis

I participated in a webinar organised by the ICDE Global Doctoral Consortium (GDC) on 7 November about Scholarly Publishing. The webinar was presented by Dr Inés Gil-Jaurena, Editor of Open Praxis. These are my notes from the webinar.

Scholarly publishing and contributions to the scientific community

  • There are different motivations for publishing that need to be considered: individual (advancement) , institutional (recognition), funder and the broader scientific community (build upon results).
  • Another consideration is the intended audience: local or international, specialised or general.
  • Different options for publication are available: books, journals, blogs and others.
  • Journal publications can be in different languages, open access or not, short papers or long papers, theoretical or empirical.

The PhD Process and Publication

  • PhD Programmes have specific requirements regarding scholarly publishing. Some require publication before the thesis is presented, while others only want publications after the thesis is approved.
  • PhDs can be obtained via a research report (thesis) or via a collection of publications.
  • Other dissemination events during a PhD include conferences and seminars, and the publication of articles and book chapters.
  • Check your programme requirements carefully.

Journal Selection

  • Consider the topic/area (matching your topic) and the language and international scope.
  • The Impact Factor and impact in social media are important metrics, some PhD programmes specify which journals are preferred or required. Another consideration is where the journal is indexed and the abstract can be found.
  • Review the quality and history of the journal: check previous issues, the peer-review process, who is on the editorial board, who is the publisher etc.
  • Other considerations include: open access, acceptance rate, time until publication, electronic follow up regarding progress, licensing and copyright, publication and communication processes etc.

About the Open Praxis Journal

  • Open Praxis publishes 4 issues per year, about 35 articles (research articles and innovative practice papers)
  • The acceptance rate is between 50-60%.
  • Normally it takes 1 to 2 months for peer review and 4-6 months until publication.
  • PhD students are welcome to register as journal reviewers.
  • Listed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) from Web of Science.

Preparing for Publication

  • Check the journal guidelines regarding: length, structure, preferred methodologies used, reference styles, ethical guidelines. Also consider the submission of supplementary documents and data.
  • Many articles are rejected before peer review because the article does not match the scope of the journal or the journal guidelines were not followed.
  • Review before submission: language and content review. Make use of your supervisor and fellow students.

Editorial process: from submission to publication

  • Submission: Register in the journal website, follow the submission checklist.Fill in the required metadata: author, affiliation, ORCID, abstract, keywords, references, etc. Submit the full paper.
  • Editor first screening: Reject or send to peer-review.
  • Peer-review process: Two reviewers per paper (sometimes three), it takes about 2 months. The Editor then makes a decision: accept, minor revision, major revision with second round review, reject.
  • After acceptance: Check metadata, add acknowledgments, proof-correction and finally, publication.
  • After publication, authors and publishers disseminate through social media, direct email. Article is disseminated in Google scholar, ORCID, institutional repositories, and academic networks.




eLearning and ODL Journal Rankings 2015

The ISI Web of Science JCR (by Thomson Reuters) and SCImago (by SCOPUS) journal rankings for 2015 have recently been released. I have gone through the Education categories and listed the journals that are relevant for research in e-learning and open and distance learning. The list is organised by quartile and each journal shows the impact factor or journal ranking and whether it is an open access journal.

2015 Journal Citation Rankings (Category: Education and Educational Research)

  • Q1: Computers and Education – 2.88
  • Q1: Internet and Higher Education – 2.72
  • Q1: International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning – 2.20
  • Q1: Distance Education – 2.02
  • Q1: Learning, Media and Technology – 1.70
  • Q1: Journal of Computer Assisted Learning – 1.68
  • Q1: British Journal of Educational Technology – 1.63
  • Q2: International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning – 1.24 (Open Access)
  • Q2: Interactive Learning Environments – 1.18
  • Q2: Educational Technology Research and Development – 1.17
  • Q2: IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies – 1.13
  • Q2: Educational Technology and Society – 1.10 (Open Access)
  • Q2: Technology Pedagogy and Education – 0.98
  • Q3: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology – 0.80 (Open Access)
  • Q3: Journal of Educational Computing Research – 0.64
  • Q4: Journal of Computing in Higher Education – 0.50

2015 SCImago Journal Rank (Category: Education)

Quartile 1

  • Internet and Higher Education – 3.56
  • Computers and Education – 3.14
  • Journal of Computer Assisted Learning – 2.39
  • Educational Technology Research and Development – 1.82
  • International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning – 1.64
  • British Journal of Educational Technology – 1.61
  • Learning, Media and Technology – 1.40
  • International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning – 1.35 (Open Access)
  • Australasian Journal of Educational Technology – 1.33 (Open Access)
  • Educational Technology and Society – 1.33 (Open Access)
  • Distance Education – 1.33
  • Research in Learning Technology – 1.32 (Open Access)
  • Technology, Pedagogy and Education – 0.90
  • Interactive Learning Environments – 0.85
  • Journal of Research on Technology in Education – 0.81
  • International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning – 0.80
  • IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies 0.73

Quartile 2

  • Journal of Interactive Online Learning – 0.66 (Open Access)
  • Online Learning – 0.58 (Open Access)
  • Journal of Educational Computing Research – 0.55
  • Journal of Information Technology Education:Research – 0.54 (Open Access)
  • Education and Information Technologies – 0.53 (Open Access)
  • Electronic Journal of e-Learning – 0.52 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation – 0.45
  • American Journal of Distance Education – 0.40
  • Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology – 0.38 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Information and Learning Technology – 0.38
  • Journal of Computing in Higher Education – 0.36

Quartile 3

  • Journal of Technology Education – 0.32 (Open Access)
  • Open Learning – 0.32
  • Journal of Educators Online (Open Access) – 0.30
  • International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development – 0.30
  • Knowledge Management and E-Learning – 0.29 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning – 0.27
  • Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education – 0.26 (Open Access)
  • E-Learning and Digital Media – 0.25
  • International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning – 0.21 (Open Access)
  • Digital Education Review (Open Access) – 0.21
  • International Journal of Learning Technology – 0.20
  • RUSC Universities and Knowledge Society Journal – 0.18 (Open Access)
  • International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education – 0.18

Quartile 4

  • International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments – 0.18
  • Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society – 0.17 (Open Access)
  • Computers in Education Journal – 0.15
  • International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies – 0.15
  • International Journal of Distance Education Technologies – 0.14
  • Ubiquitous Learning – 0.11
  • Interactive Technology and Smart Education – 0.11

Academic Writing Workshop: Part I

I recently participated in the first part of an academic writing workshop on planning to write a (scientific) qualitative article, presented by Dr Susan Frekko. The second part of the workshop will take place in March next year. This workshop covered a) defining the research, b) working with your data, c) selecting a journal and d) drafting the article.

Defining your research

An important starting point for creating an article is to clear define your research. For example, what kind of new information do you provide? does it offer a solution to a practical problem? does it answer a conceptual problem? I liked the way Booth et al (2008) provided an alternative way to define your research, through considering the topic, question and problem. Topic-question-problem statement:

  • I’m working on X…
  • because I want to find out Y…,
  • in order to help my reader understand the bigger and important question of Z..

Working with your data

The type of data that you have determines what you do with it, whether its primary or secondary. Very often, qualitative data will contain recordings and field notes. Field notes are very important for capturing process data (about the methodology/design), descriptive data (observations) and analytical data (“Aha” moments). Coding is another important component for generating categories (descriptive and theoretical) and patterns.

Selecting a journal

It is important to select a journal that aligns with your contribution (article). Some tips for journal selection: look at where your key sources are publishing, as well as their citations; consider the journal index ranking, the scope of the journal, the manuscript “turnaround” time, etc. When writing your article, also consider the style used by authors in the journal.

Drafting your article

Matthew Wolf-Meyer provides a useful set of six steps to write a journal article.

Final takeway: A very useful suggestion from the workshop was to form a writing group with your peers, where each member commits to a weekly exchange of a piece of writing for review. This encourages you to keep writing and enables you to get regular feedback.


Booth, Wayne C., Colomb, Gregory G. & Williams, Joseph M. (2008). The Craft of Research. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press.

Wolf-Meyer, Matthew. (2014). How to Write a Journal Article (in 6 steps). N = 1. Available:

International Workshop and Round Table for Ed Tech Journal Editors

As a pre-conference workshop for the EDEN Conference in Barcelona this week, UOC hosted an international workshop for editors of journals in educational technology and distance learning. The event was sponsored by “La Caixa” bank. About 18 editors, representing 13 journals, participated in the morning workshop. See a list here of participating journals. The journals ranged from well-established journals to newer journals, and included open access and traditionally published journals. The morning session represented a first of sorts as many of the editors had not been involved in such a workshop before.

There were 4 main topics for debate and discussion. It soon became apparent that despite attempts to separate out the topics, all of them are very closely interrelated. Here is my summary of some of the discussion:

1. Journal Editing and Quality Assurance

  • Quality assurance can be a very broad topic and needs to include considerations for the stakeholders involved, the key quality indicators and how these are measured.
  • There is an issue between maintaining rates of acceptance and mentorship for authors needing support before being ready to publish.
  • Peer reviewers need to be looked after to manage their workloads.
  • The quality of reviewers can be improved through pairing experienced and less experienced reviewers, reviewer mentorship programmes and sharing the feedback from reviewers and the editor.
  • There was some discussion of double-blind and single-blind review as the literature shows little difference in quality.
  • More interest is starting to be shown in access to the data used in research and not just the results, but the data is often not easily accessible.

2. Author Services

  • Journals provide a variety of author services such as tracking, publicity, statistics validation, citation validation and plagiarism checking.
  • However often these services are resource intensive and journals need to identify which services authors really need and which are nice to have.
  • Services for newer authors or junior researchers:
    • Author mentorship or the use of a “Critical friend” is helpful to authors when reviewers deem papers worthy to be published but need significant reworking – this does require time by volunteer reviewers
    • Pressure to publish for PhD students – one way to help reduce the need for all students to publish is to make students part of the reviewing team and partner with an experienced reviewer, thus gaining valuable experience and expertise.
    • Many authors require help or understanding of ethics issues and intellectual property issues – journals can provide education in this regard
    • As an example, I thought the following list discussed by the editors of why articles can be rejected before getting to peer review stage:
      • Most rejected as articles do not align with the scope of the journal
      • Articles are too long and/or do not meet journal publishing requirements
      • A few are rejected for plagiarism
      • A few are rejected for articles offering nothing “novel” or value adding to the field

3. Journal Dissemination, Impact and Metrics

  • There needs to be a wider understanding of what is meant by impact (not just citations, but impact on educational practice).
  • But academic recognition is often reliant on formal citation indexes only.
  • Understanding indices, how they are calculated and who is included is not always clear.
  • All metrics have flaws – need to use a variety of metrics and not rely on a single one.
  • Traditional indices can be used together with alternative metrics, including social networking.

4. Business Models and Sustainability

  • There are a wide variety of business models in place and some that are still being established. These include commercial publishers, university publishers, support from a society or association and others.
  • There is space in the market for commercial and open publishing and some format in-between.
  • Although there is still scope for publishing printed formats, there is a clear trend towards online publishing.
  • To be sustainable often requires a change in mindset.
  • The understanding of open access and the implications is not yet clear for all publishers and authors.

Workshop Outcomes

Although the workshop report still needs to be finalised, the following possible outcomes were discussed:

  • Formation of a mailing list for editors to share information and network.
  • Cooperation of editors working together on similar research/projects.
  • Regular meetings to be held annually or biennially that focus on issues facing editors.
  • Consideration of how to use the influence of the group of editors.

An afternoon round table was open to the public and featured a debate and discussion by 4 of the journal editors. This was streamed live and the recording of the session should soon be available. To follow the twitter stream of the event, use the hashtag #elearningjournals.

Thank you to all the participating editors and to UOC for hosting a unique event. I look forward to reading the final report of the event.