like the idea of “megajournals”–online-only, open access journals that
cover many subjects and publish content based only on whether it is
scientifically sound. You get that PLOS ONE, PeerJ and others offer a path to a more efficient, faster, more open scholarly publishing world.
But you’re not publishing there.
you’ve heard rumors that they’re not peer reviewed, or that they’re
“peer-review lite” journals. You’re concerned they’re journals of last
resort, article dumping grounds. You’re worried your co-authors will
balk, that your work won’t be read, or that your CV will look bad.
you’re not the only one. And it’s true: although they’ve got great
potential for science as a whole, megajournals (which include PLOS ONE as well as BMJ Open, SAGE Open, Scientific Reports, Open Biology, PeerJ, andSpringerPlus) carry some potential career liabilities.
they don’t have to. With a little savvy, publishing in megajournals can
actually boost your career, at the same time as you support a great new
trend in science communication. So here are the biggest dangers of
megajournal publishing–and the tips that let you not have to worry about
No one in my field will find out about it
convinced your co-authors–megajournals are faster, cheaper, and publish
great research by renowned scientists. Now, how do you get others in
your field to read an article in a journal they’ve never heard of?
your colleagues to read your article is as easy as posting it in places
where they go to read. You can start before you publish by posting a
preprint to Figshare, or a disciplinary pre-print server like ArXiv or PeerJ Preprints, in order to whet your colleagues’ appetite. Make sure to use good keywords to make it findable–particularly since today, a growing percentage of articles are found via Google Scholar and PubMed searches instead of encountered in journals.
your paper has been more formally published in your megajournal of
choice, you can leverage the social media interest you’ve already gained
to share the final product. Twitter’s a great way to get attention,
especially if you use hashtags your colleagues follow. So is posting to
disciplinary listservs. A blog post sharing the “story behind the paper”
and summarizing your findings can be powerful, too. Together, these can
be all it takes to get your article noticed.
Microbiologist Jonathan Eisen is a great example. He promoted his article upon publication with great success, provoking over 80 tweets and 17 comments on a blog post describing his PLOS ONE paper, “Stalking the Fourth Domain in Metagenomic Data”. The article itself has
received ~47,000 views, 300 Mendeley readers, 23 comments, 35 Google
Scholar citations, and hundreds of social media mentions to date, thanks
in part to Eisen’s savvy self-promotion.