Getting your article published in a journal is no small feat, but it certainly increases the author’s reputation and can do a lot for their career. Given the advantages and benefits of having their article published in a journal, a lot of authors are seeking new ways of conducting research and assembling a well-written article, one that will get them published and earn them a spot amongst the already recognized authors. If you were ever intrigued by the question, in this article you’ll get the answer to: how to publish an article in a journal for free?

To publish an article you’ll firstly need to conduct proper research, document it, and then write an article on the research and the proven or dismissed theory. The research and the writing need to follow specific rules, most often set by journals.

How Can I Publish a Journal Article for Free?

Journals are magazines that deal with specific, most often professional topics. Most journals that are available and are most prominent nowadays are scientific journals; The New England Journal of Medicine (the most famous, and quite frankly, the best medicinal journal – it’s released once a week and it’s crucial for medical practitioners to keep up to date with it if they as medicine is always evolving) and Nature (the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journal).

The reason for journals’ importance is their content. Journals are almost exclusively revolving around professional topics, with great attention paid to the research conducted about the specific topic. They are very useful to people who work in the industry related to the journal, and being published in one always leads to more recognition within the industry. Each article within any journal is heavily studied upon, researched, double-checked (maybe even triple-checked), meticulously written…and only then does the author (or authors, articles are often written by more than a single author) send the article to a journal.

Then, a committee of experts on the topic within the given range gather and discuss whether the article’s research was conducted well, does it make any sense, is it any good, and most importantly – is it useful? Research has to be conducted with progress in mind, and articles that don’t suggest something new or don’t have any new findings within the field are very often tossed in the trash. Most industries, as well as sciences, are moving forward very quickly today and simply don’t have the time to dwell on an already well-established fact or procedure.

How To Conduct Proper Research?

Once that you’ve decided what you want to write an article about, you have to start conduct an appropriately detailed, accurate and thorough research to base your article on.

Gauging what is enough (not good enough, but enough research by quantity) depends solely on the author of the article, however there are rules every research must follow.

First of all – everything has got to be documented. Every single change within the research, be it significant or insignificant – every change in the methods of conducting the research – everything the author seems to think is important.

Secondly – every single hypothesis or theorem has to be proven by palpable and documentable evidence. Theories are no good if there’s nothing to prove them. This evidence must be documented and if possible – archived.

Thirdly – the methods used in conducting the research must be scientifically proven and accepted. Using unstable methods that don’t hold up will make your article easier to overthrow. For example: the polygraph (commonly known as the lie detector), despite having its pros, has so many cons and has proven to be so unstable (it sometimes shows honest people lying and vice versa) that it has become admissible evidence in court (meaning the jury and the judges don’t see it as solid evidence and usually don’t take it into account when deciding upon a ruling).

How To Write and Submit Your Article For Publishing?

After proper research has been conducted and thoroughly documented, the author should write the article – citing proper documentation and describing important notes. The article should be written in scientific format, getting straight to the point (the research), accompanied by documentation. Due to its nature, scientific format offers little room for speculation and unimportant wording. You should keep to the script when writing an article, avoiding unexplored areas that require more research. It’s important to note that every journal has their own formatting, style, and referencing guidelines – that’s why it’d be smart to read a few articles from a few different journals you’re considering. That way you can see which style fits your style of writing the best – that way you’ll be more productive and your writing will be better.

The author should always take their time with both the research and the writing. Both can separately take years. After all, making change – no matter how small it might be – is a long process. The most important thing is to stay hopeful and publish the article even if it isn’t proving the hypothesis you wanted it to prove. Publish it even if it isn’t making the change you wanted it to make. All progress works this way; scientific, industrial, social…we first have to know everything wrong to recognize the right.

You publishing an article on something that you found to be untrue is going to help someone else (or maybe even you, once you try again or try for a different hypothesis) use that fact as a building block to their own article – one that may prove something based off your research.

In order to get a written article published you should first look into articles online, searching for one in your field, or one similar to your field. You shouldn’t look to publish in the top-ranked journal for your first publication, as it could lead to rejection much easier than in lower-ranked journals. It’d be best to compile a list of five to ten journals, ordered by priority, and then approach them one by one.

It is crucial to approach the journals one-by-one. Most journals will refuse to even take a look at your submission if your article is being considered by another journal. Most journals will also ask you to sign a binding clause, stating that your article is not being considered by other journals.

It’s important to follow the very specific guidelines each journal has, both about writing and submission, because no journal will publish an article that isn’t following their rules. The peer-review process can last anything from six weeks to six months, that’s why publishing is such a long and exhausting process. Given the likely outcome that you’ll have to try for several publishers (as it’s unlikely that your primary choice in a publisher will jump to the opportunity of publishing you), this process can take literal years.

Once a journal decides to publish your article, you’ll have to deal with a lot of paperwork before your article’s published. Then, the journal will take care of the publishing.

Best Free Publishing Journals

Depending on the discipline the specific journal is tackling, checking what journal should be your priority is, in itself, a priority. One of the easier ways to settle that is by using Eigenfactor, a site offering a list of no-fee open access journals for all fields and updating it regularly.

Another website that can be utilized this way is DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals. Here you can browse journals from all fields as well, but you can also set filters for specific fields and other requirements. 

Publication fee for an article can be anything from 150 to 6 000 dollars, depending on the journal, the journal’s interest in the topic, how useful the article is to the journal and how good the article is.

Elsevier is a scientific tool used mostly for medicine and other sciences. It can be used for publishing purposes, as well. It has a list of all open-access journals, ones that accept work without solicitation, a detailed description of each journal and contact information (or a direct link to the journals’ sites).

These three could be defined as the most prominent online guides through journals from all areas. You should always be careful when choosing a journal, not only because the success of your article may depend on it, but because you’ll be wasting precious time if you choose a journal that will reject your proposition of publishing. Unfortunately – nobody can see the future, so you can’t know for sure whether you’ll be rejected or published, but trying for the most famous journal may not be the best idea.

Most journals are always on the lookout for new publishing prospects, so they most certainly will read your submission and article (if you’ve followed the given rules), but nobody can guarantee publishing. On the bright side, making your article the best it can be and, thanks to the Internet choosing the right journal can be much quicker and easier than before, shortening the process of publication.