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Engineering Library: Publishing

Information about the Department of Engineering Library, including information for researchers


Publishing is a key part of any researcher's career: it is the main way researchers share their research findings with colleagues and the world at large, so that knowledge develops over time and helps to change policy and practice. 

Through publishing, you will receive feedback on your work and develop your ideas further. In addition, a strong publication record is also important in developing your research career.

Elsevier negotations

The contract between the publisher Elsevier and UK Universities is due for renewal in December 2021. The sector is entering negotiations with the aim of securing a read and publish agreement that converts subscription expenditure to support immediate open access publishing and maintains access to paywalled content for a reduced fee. So-called ‘transitional’ or ‘transformative’ agreements (TAs) are supported by Plan S funders with the goal of achieving full and immediate open access. A consultation process is now underway and Heads of School have been contracted with information on how to contribute. Information on the negotiations is available at this webpage and anyone can contribute through this form or write to us at   

Choosing Where to Publish

Where to publish is one of the most important decisions you'll make when disseminating your research. It's best to start thinking about this as early as possible, ideally at the very start of each research project. 

Ultimately, the decision of where to publish your work as a researcher in the Engineering Department is up to you. However, there are some things you might want to think about:


You may have heard of the h-index and citation rate. These are just two of many metrics used to calculate the impact of articles, authors and publications. The academic system tends to be weighted in favour of authors who are published in high-impact journals and who have high citation rates. However, reaching the right audience for your work may involve publishing in smaller journals with a more specific focus, or making your work freely available to the public, both of which allow your work to have different types of impact. These sorts of impact are increasingly considered in evaluation exercises such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Is the journal legitimate?

Fraud in academic publishing has unfortunately become a common occurrence and academics have found themselves paying charges to be published in predatory journals. Before you publish, have a look at the checklist on Think. Check. Submit.

The video below from the Betty and Gordon Moore Library has a useful introduction to Predatory Publishers and how to avoid them.

predatory publisher video


If making research available for others is important to you, or if your funder requires your work to be Open Access, you might think about submitting your work to Open Access journals. To check the Open Access policies of journals, visit SHERPA/RoMEO or browse the Directory of Open Access Journals. See below for more information about Open Access or visit the University Open Access website.

The Research Skills Guide has more information on publishing in journals and publishing academic books.

Peer Review

Peer review can be daunting at first. What will the reviewers think? How much extra work will the revision entail? How do I write a response? 

There are usually several stages to peer review:

The author(s) submit the manuscript to their preferred journal. Note that you can only submit to one journal at a time. How this is done depends on the publisher: most have online platforms, but a few small society publishers still rely on emails.
An editor receives the manuscript and performs an initial screen. They may reject at this stage or decide to assign it to reviewers. 
Reviewers are experts in the field who give their professional opinion on the manuscript. They might recommend a rejection or acceptance with major or minor revisions, or acceptance as the manuscript stands.
If changes are required, the author completes these and communicates with the editor. This is a brilliant opportunity for authors to improve their work before it is disseminated more widely. The editor mediates all communications from reviewers to author and revised submissions, so there is usually no direct contact between author and reviewers. 
The final decision about publication rests with the editor, who takes into account the reviewers’ comments but has the ultimate say. 

This process can be emotionally charged, but it is important to view it as a collaboration between editor, reviewers and authors to ensure that only the best research is disseminated, and in the best possible form. 

Elsevier negotiations: Expressions of interest

The contract between the publisher Elsevier and UK universities is due for renewal in December 2021 and the sector is currently entering negotiations to secure the best possible outcome for the research community. The University of Cambridge is currently involved in a consultation process with researchers and academics. A document has been circulated to Heads of School to advise them on how to contribute. We welcome feedback and expressions of interest from anyone wishing to participate in future events and engagement plans. You can contribute via the following methods:

Research resources

Cambridge Training: 

The University has a strong Researcher Development Programme full of online training, podcasts, 1:1 support, and lots more.

Cambridge University Libraries have created a useful Research Skills Guide to multiple aspects of research.

Learn about research tools with the 23 Research Things online training programme.

Research Support: 

The University Research Strategy Office site has information on research policies.

Information about various tools and sources of support is available from the Research Information Office.

The University's Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) covers Open Access, Research Data Management and Thesis Management. 

Open Research / Open Access:  

Information about Open Research is available via the OSC.

For queries about Open Access, see the Open Access website.

Research Systems: 

Access your Symplectic Elements account (Raven login required)

Check your details on ResearchFish


See guidance on funding and grant applications from the Research Operations Office (ROO).

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