How to publish?

Publishing a scientific article is a long and arduous process. Below you will find a few tips and tricks to optimise the process.

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is a unique, worldwide standard for the identification of books. Aim of the ISBN is to find every title published by a publishing company in a fast and simple way.

An ISBN is not required by law, but it is recommended if you want to distribute your publication via the commercial system.

To publish an article in a journal you don’t need an ISBN. After all, each journal has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).

It is possible to receive an ISBN for a doctoral dissertation. Don’t apply for one if the doctoral dissertation contains confidential information. Nor the faculty nor the university has an editor’s prefix that should be included in the ISBN. Notify the printing company to insert the ISBN on the back of the title page and at the backside of the doctoral dissertation.

In Flanders and Brussels you should apply for an ISBN via

When choosing a journal for your publication, various factors come into play. Here you will find an overview of useful tools and sources to help make your selection.

Factors that (may) play a role when choosing the journal Tools and sources
Impact factor of the journal Journal Citation Reports
Open Access Directory of Open Access Journals
Tip: Also be sure to check  whether the funding body has any Open Access requirements
Duration of the review process SciRev
Reliability of the journal Tips in the (re)search tip “Assess the quality of a scholarly journal
Journal’s areas of interest Scopus: via Analyze search results you can (in Source) get an overview of journals that have already published in the area of your research question.
Price (for the peer review process, production costs, making it accessible to the public, etc.) Certain journals publishers use a business model in which a contribution is asked of the author (an APC – Article Processing Charge, author fee – publication fee), so that the articles in Open Access are accessible to everyone and there is no requirement to take out a subscription to these journals.

TIP: UGent authors get a 15% discount on the APC when they publish in a BioMed Central, Chemistry Central or SpringerOpen journal. For more information on this topic, consult the UGent information page.

International Reporting Guidelines give an overview of the criteria that an article should satisfy, where possible, in order to promote transparency in reporting and prevent Reporting Bias.

Study type Reporting guideline
Cohort, case-control en cross-sectionale studie STROBE statement
Case reports CARE
Health Economic Evaluations CHEERS
Animal experimentation (pre-clinical) ARRIVE
Qualitative research SRQR
RCT CONSORT statement
Guidelines AGREE
Study protocols SPIRIT
Systematic review (and meta-analysis) PRISMA statement, checklist and flow diagram

PRISMA-P (PRISMA for protocols)

PRISMA-A (PRISMA for abstract)

More guidelines for Health Research can be found at

Today, the traditional publication model of a single author prevails in only a few disciplines. In most other disciplines, multiple authors are almost always responsible for a publication, ranging from the limited partnership between doctoral students and their supervisor(s) to the publications by large(r) groups that collaborate in large international consortia.

Read here about the responsibilities the authorship involves. The platform (Re)search tips lists 10 best practices.

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) issued recommendations concerning the role of (co-)authors and contributors.

Following an analysis of the linguistic quality, technical difficulty and scope of your text/article, the University Language Centre will decide whether your text/article is eligible for proofreading. You will then be sent a quote, providing details of the cost and delivery time. See here for more information (contact, method, examples and reactions).

The Translating, Interpreting and Communication department offers an affordable proofreading and translation service to third parties. Contact Nicole Merckx for more information about this service.

Certain funding bodies require a protocol to be registered (e.g. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)).

The registration of your protocol promotes transparency, helps reduce possible bias and helps prevent unnecessary duplicate review work.*

You can register your protocol with:


* Stewart L, Moher D, Shekelle P. Why prospective registration of systematic reviews makes sense. Syst Rev. 2012;1:7.

Do you have a question related to your literature review or do you need help with searching, processing or publishing of your literature/data? Then please fill in our form to give us a clear view of your question and so that we can advise you efficiently. Alternatively, you could email us at