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Niven Library - FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology Library Guide: Publishing your Research

The library supports a number of themes - African ornithology, conservation biology, Antarctic and sub-antarctic biology, specifically birds.

Considerations when selecting a journal

Wiley's tips on choosing the right journal in which to publish

Click on the image to view the infographic.

Postgraduate students are encouraged to publish in peer-reviewed journals which are approved by the DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training). There are two categories of approved journals - those published in South Africa and those published internationally which appear on the Thomson Reuters Science Citation Index list.

UCT's Research Support Hub publishes an updated DHET accredited journals list every year. Visit their site to download it.

Submission checklist

Many journals make a submission checklist available along with their Authors Guidelines, or Instructions for Authors.

Elsevier has published a generic checklist for use when a journal does not provide one:

"Ensure that the following items are present:

  • One author has been designated as the corresponding author in the manuscript and full contact details provided:
    • Email address.
    • Affiliation address/es (this should be where the research has been conducted).
    • Full current affiliation postal address for corresponding author if different to primary affiliation.
  • All necessary files have been uploaded, and contain:
    • Keywords on the title page.
    • All figures, with captions.
    • All tables (including title, description, footnotes), with legends.
  • Further considerations:
    • Manuscript has been 'spell-checked' and 'grammar checked'.
    • References are in the correct format for this journal.
    • All references mentioned in the Reference list are cited in the text, and vice versa.
    • Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including the Internet)."

Journal suggesters

Some publishers have made databases available that allow you to enter keywords about your research in order to find a suitable journal in which to publish:

Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) indexes "high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals". 

Use the box below to search the directory for an open access journal:


Calculate Open Access Journal Publication Costs

Also known as Article Publishing Charge or Article Processing Charge (APC), this fee covers the cost of publishing in an open access journal.

Some sites that will help calculate these charges:

"The Eigenfactor Index of Open Access Fees makes it easy for scholarly authors to engage in comparison shopping between scholarly journals. Background and information about how to use the tool is provided on the entry page."


You can find current open access publishing costs for Taylor & Francis and Routledge journals using the Taylor and Francis Open Access Cost Finder



bioRxiv (pronounced "bio-archive") is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences. It is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a not-for-profit research and educational institution. By posting preprints on bioRxiv, authors are able to make their findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals.

Articles are not peer-reviewed, edited, or typeset before being posted online. However, all articles undergo a basic screening process for offensive and/or non-scientific content. No endorsement of an article’s methods, assumptions, conclusions, or scientific quality by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is implied by its appearance in bioRxiv. An article may be posted prior to, or concurrently with, submission to a journal but should not be posted if it has already been published.

Authors may submit a revised version of an article to bioRxiv at any time and can update the bioRxiv record with a link to a version of an article that has been published in a journal. Once posted on bioRxiv, articles are citable and therefore cannot be removed.

Funding for page costs

Apply for funding for these fees on UCT's electronic Research Administration (eRA) system.

Watch a how-to video or read the guide made available by the Research Office.

Image creation and editing

Free software packages for image editing:


Shoja, MM et al (eds). 2020. A Guide to the Scientific Career: virtues, communication, research, and academic writing

This e-book, provided by UCT Libraries, is available for download, either chapter-by-chapter, or you can download the whole book.



Section 7, "Publications and Resources", contains the following chapters relevant to publishing your research:

  • An Introduction to Academic Publishing 
  • Various Types of Scientific Articles 
  • Authorship 
  • Scholarly Open-Access Publishing 
  • How to Find a Suitable Journal for Your Manuscript
  • Scientific Peer Review 
  • How to Reply to Editors and Reviewers 
  • Causes of Manuscript Rejection and How to Handle a Rejected Manuscript