29 June 2015

Get a firm footing on publishing scholarly articles

Having something to impart to your field of research and seeing your work published is no doubt personally rewarding. Finding the right journal to publish your paper is worth some effort. Here are some resources that may be useful ...  By Penny Presta.

Your own priorities will ultimately assist you when determining where to publish. Do you consider it more important to be in a top tier journal, to have low fees, to get a speedy acceptance, or to have open access and high visibility for your work?

Journals are often oriented to specific audiences and can differ in tone and writing style. To increase the likelihood of your paper being accepted you may need to tailor your article to the journal or select a journal that is a good fit for your paper.

Find out more about a particular journal
  • Ulrichsweb global serials directory is a source of detailed information on more than 300,000 periodicals of all types. Obtain a list of journals in your subject area, see tables of contents, coverage, reviews, whether a publication is refereed (peer-reviewed) and more.

Article indexing
  • Are articles from the journal indexed in databases relevant to your field, or in citation databases such as Scopus or Web of Science?

  • Are articles from the journal harvested by Google Scholar? To check go to Advanced Search and type in the publication name to see if articles from that publication are retrieved.

Journal Impact Factor or other journal rankings
  • InCites, Journal citation reports Search for a journal’s Impact Factor. Impact factor is a recognised measure used to help determine a journal’s impact within its field, and is available for all journals indexed in the Web of Science database.

  • Scopus In Scopus, click Compare Journals to analyse the prestige of journals contained in the Scopus database from 1996.

  • SJR SCImago Journal & Country Rank uses Scopus data to provide ranking information. Click Journal Rankings to see a ranked list by subject or country.

Matching your article to a journal
  • Elsevier matching enter your title and abstract to see a list of Elsevier journals that best match with your article.

  • JANE: Journal/Author Name Estimator find the best place to publish by comparing your title, abstract or keywords to millions of articles in MEDLINE for the best match.

  • Manuscript matcher by Thomson Reuters EndNote Online uses data from the Web of Science to find your best potential journal.

Quality Journal Lists

Open Access
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) An online directory that indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals.

  • Sherpa/Romeo Search by journal or publisher to see a summary of the copyright or archiving permissions normally part of a journal or publisher's copyright transfer agreement.

  • Monash University Research Repository The University repository meets the requirements of funding bodies (eg. ARC and NHMRC) for a post-print or publisher version of a paper to be made available in an open access repository.

Predatory publishers
The term predatory publishers refers to those that exploit the ‘author pays’ open access model by deceiving authors into paying fees without providing the associated services. Be wary of emails seeking submissions to journals as legitimate publishers rarely follow such practices. Predatory publishers also commonly:
  • adopt a name similar to an existing prestigious entity
  • falsely claim to have Impact Factors
  • apply previously undisclosed fees after your article has been accepted and is unable to be withdrawn or published elsewhere
  • have no quality-control despite claims of rigorous processes or peer review
  • dishonestly advertise the presence of prominent researchers on their editorial boards

Distraction Watch is a blog which illustrates actual approaches by questionable publishers. Academic librarian Jeffrey Beall’s Scholarly Open Access blog includes a comprehensive list of such open access publishers and their journals. It is updated regularly and the critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishers is helpful for knowing what to look out for.

Subject Librarians in the Library can help you use databases that may be useful in making decisions about the best journals in your discipline. See the Research impact and publishing library guide for more information on this topic.

Image: Gideon Burton, under CC 2.0 licence

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25 June 2015

Library Guides unveil a new look!

Library Guides have been a key resource in the Library for many years, providing subject and topic specific information for the Monash community and beyond. It is very exciting to see these faithful old guides receiving a well deserved upgrade... by Amy Han and Katalin Mindum.

On 26 June, Library Guides will be officially switched over to a new version which will introduce great improvements to performance and an updated design.

What to expect
First of all, don’t panic. All your bookmarks to Library guides content will be intact. And we’ve made sure the change over will take place at a time that will have the least impact on you. You will notice we’ve applied a refreshing new look to the guides and perhaps you’ll find your love for them also renewed.

As with any system upgrade, there will be some downtime however minimal. On 26 June there will be a brief outage to the Library guides in the morning for up to an hour. And like any system upgrade, some broken bits and pieces here and there is expected. The Library guides team will not stop working until everything is perfect. If you find anything strange or not working as usual after 26 June, drop us a line.

Please note: If you are still seeing the old Library guides, try clearing your browser's cache.

What’s new
This upgrade has given us the opportunity introduce a new layout with a focus on teaching and research. The new Library guides home page includes sections designed especially for researchers and teachers. Access to the new guides for Moodle, Turnitin, multimedia resources will be much clearer. Guides covering topics such as research impact and publishing and HDR research will be much easier to locate, and a guide for data management is in the pipeline. Several key collections such as the Ada Booth Slavic collection, maps, and newspapers, are also highlighted and made much more easily accessible.

So are you excited as we are?

Tell us about your experience using the Library guides by posting a comment below.

Image: Found Animals Foundation, under CC 2.0 licence

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Works set to start at Caulfield Library this weekend

The first stage of the Caulfield Library refurbishment will commence on 27 June. It will involve some heavy demolition works until 24 July, with some lighter demolition works continuing until the end of August.

View from north west corner
The affected sections along the building’s north fa├žade will be hoarded off for safety and security. 

The library entrance is not affected during this stage but staff, students and visitors are advised to follow the directions along the hoarded area.

Disability access to the library will be via the lift in Building B and across the Level 2 walkway.

The works will be noisy and dusty. While the builders will try and minimise the noise there is a limit to what can be done. Ear plugs are available from the library information point. 

Alternative study spaces are also available in Building K between 27 June and 24 July. These include: Rooms K201, K203-206, K208, K210-213.

The demolition works are necessary to allow the extension of the space occupied by the library. The refurbishment will double the library’s current seating capacity.

For more information about the library refurbishment, visit the website.

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22 June 2015

Document Delivery

You found this really great article but can’t access it via the Library’s electronic subscriptions – what can you do? Allow Library staff to source it for you via our Document Delivery service! Read on to find out Paula Todd

Who can use it?
Monash University Library has a service for staff, postgraduate and honours students where we can source material for you, from around the world if necessary, and deliver it via a link to your inbox.

What can be requested?
In addition to electronic articles sourced from non-Monash libraries, copies of print only material held at other Monash branch libraries can also be supplied.  Document Delivery also obtain loans of items from Australian and overseas libraries.

How do I use it?
The online form is available via a link on the Library tab in your portal (look under Services) or from the Library website.

If you are using Search and the article or journal is not held by Monash, a link to the Document Delivery request form will appear in the “view it” tab which should pre-populate the request form with most of the information about the article.

Where do I collect them from?
Electronically sourced items or scanned printed items such as articles will be sent via a link or as an attachment to your Monash email address.

Physical items such as books and other materials will be sent to the nominated Monash branch library for collection. If you are registered as off-campus, items may be sent to your off-campus Department location or home address.

Please see our library guide for much more information about document delivery and interlibrary loans.

What happens for undergraduate students?
If you are an undergraduate student you can visit any participating Victorian academic library* and borrow books or photocopy print articles in person.  Before you go make sure you have registered for a CAVAL card at one of the Monash branch libraries and have checked the opening hours of the library you wish to visit.  Note that this reciprocal agreement does not allow for electronic access to other libraries. See CAVAL for more information and the list of participating libraries.

*Includes University of Tasmania Library!

 Image: Sebastien Wiertz, under CC 2.0 licence

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18 June 2015


Interested in knowing whether your research is being mentioned and shared in online environments and across social media platforms? Then altmetrics might be your answer... by Cassandra Freeman.

You may already be familiar with Bibliometrics and the way in which you can measure the number of times your journal article has been cited or know the impact factor of the journal where you have published your research.
The term altmetrics, a shortening of "alternative" metrics, was first introduced in a 2010 tweet by Jason Priem, a co-founder of Impactstory. Priem went on to describe them as "new metrics based on the social web for analysing and informing scholarship". Altmetrics are said to be a measurement of the "societal impact" of research and also enable the ability to measure the impact of "digital scholarship projects" such as conference posters, websites or exhibitions.
Research dissemination has changed in recent years as information can now be shared at lightning speed across multiple social media platforms to an audience of billions. Many academics are developing more of an online presence and sharing their research outputs in these forums or networks. You could be reporting your research at a conference and hundreds of people are tweeting and retweeting it to a variety of people around the world in a matter of seconds.
It was through the need to try and gauge the impact research was having in this new environment of scholarly communication that has resulted in the development of these new metric tools.
Altmetric tools
Altmetric measurement services such as Impactstory and Ebsco's Plum Analytics, extract information from sources that include:
  • twitter, blogs, facebook
  • social bookmarking networks like Delicious and Connotea
  • academic bookmarking platforms (CiteULike, Mendeley)
  • mainstream news media outlets
  • grey literature, including policy papers, conference proceedings and reports
Where can you view Altmetrics?
Some e-journals and online databases including Wiley Online and Scopus, have embedded altmetric information next to article results. There is also an Altmetric bookmarklet that can be downloaded into your browser to view the altmetrics of an article you may be reading.
The Library's Search tool also has a new Metrics tab for articles with a DOI (digital object identifier). If your article has been shared by others across a variety of online platforms or social networks it is now possible to view the number of shares.
Altmetrics are not a replacement of traditional research impact measurement tools, but rather they can be used in addition to other metrics. For more information about altmetrics and measurement tools see the Monash Research Impact and Publishing Library Guide.

Further reading:
Bornmann, L 2014, 'Do altmetrics point to the broader impact of research? An overview of benefits and disadvantages of altmetrics', Journal of Informetrics, vol.8, no.4, pp. 895-903, doi:10.1016/j.joi.2014.09.005

Holmberg, K 2014, 'Altmetrics may be able to help in evaluating societal reach, but research significance must be peer reviewed', The Impact Blog: The London School of Economics and Political Science, web blog post, 9th July,


Human Head With Social Network Icons Photo by KROMKRATHOG from

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15 June 2015

Lectures online for the uninitiated

Monash University Lectures Online is a lecture recording service which uses Echo360 technology, offering a blended learning experience to students, wherever they are... by Laurie Smith.

Why use Monash University Lectures Online?
Monash University Lectures Online is popular with students as a way of ‘time-shifting’ lectures when timetables clash, of focusing in on unclear sections, of scanning through lecture slides and referring back to lecture material when studying for exams.

Lecturers benefit through the use of analytics, permitting them to keep track of student usage, % completion and are even able to locate the most popular parts of their lectures.

Which lecture theatres are set up with recording facilities?
The number of theatres capable of recording lectures is constantly expanding and is listed here: teaching spaces available for online recording.

How do academic staff request lecture recordings for their units?
The simplest way to request lecture recording is by using our online form.  It’s also possible to request one-off recordings by emailing or by creating your own recordings using personal capture software. Requests can be made by staff only.

How do I report a problem?
The most direct way to notify us of any issues is to use the Report a problem on our home page.

Who arranges the lecture recordings?
Lecture recordings can only take place if requested by the lecturer or unit co-ordinator for a course unit. Some faculties such as Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Information Technology, record all units by default, except for certain courses in which teaching staff have requested not to be recorded.

What will be recorded?
By default, our recordings capture both audio and visual content. Audio is recorded from the theatre microphones, while visuals are recorded from the output of the theatre PC or connected laptop (e.g. PowerPoint presentations). Note that a small number of theatres are equipped to make video recordings of presenters.

How soon will my lecture recordings be available online?
Lecture recordings need to be uploaded from the recording device and processed into the various formats we deliver.  Generally they are available for playback within an hour or two after the conclusion of lectures though this varies mainly due to server load.

How long do the recordings remain available?
All lecture recordings remain available for the duration of the semester in which a unit is held.

How do students find the lecture recordings?
The link to your lecture recordings are listed under your faculty on the MULO homepage.  These links are maintained by MULO staff.   If desired, you may paste the link to the lecture recordings for your unit into Moodle, however these links are not maintained by MULO staff and may go out of date.

What options are available for accessing the recordings?
Lectures may be accessed via streaming them directly through the EchoPlayer, by downloading them, or by subscribing to the unit using a podcast manager like iTunes.

Image: Jonathan Powell, under CC 2.0 licence

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10 June 2015

Matheson Library refurbishment to start with lift replacement

The Sir Louis Matheson Library on Clayton campus will continue its extended opening hours during the exam period although one lift will be out of action for replacement from 15 June until the end of July 2015.

Builders will start work to replace the single old lift in the group study area of the Matheson Library.

The lift works are scheduled towards the end of exams and over the semester break to keep the disruption to a minimum. Students who are concerned about the noise can find study desks on the upper floors of the General Collection. The other lifts will be operational.

During this time all materials in the Matstore including the Asian Studies Research Collection, Matstore multi-volume collections and Microforms will be closed to the public. Items from these collections will be retrieved by staff by arrangement only. There will be a form that students and staff need to fill in at the Information Point.

Journals, Music, Multimedia and Kipen Judaica collections will be still available for all students and staff though some additional help may be required for people who cannot use stairs or carry items.

The new journals display will be dismantled and all new journals will go directly to the shelves once processed.

Please be aware that because there is NO lift access to the lower ground or level 2 there may be delays in getting returned items back onto shelves.

Regular updates about the Matheson Library refurbishment will be published in this blog. To find out more about the project, check the Library website.

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8 June 2015

Refurbishment of Caulfield Library to start after exam period

Monash students can be assured that Caulfield Library will continue normal operation (including temporary exclusion condition) during the exam period. Regular opening hours will continue.

Refurbishment works are scheduled immediately after the exam period, taking advantage of the semester break to undertake noisy work.

The refurbishment will include extending the space occupied by the library to provide almost double its current seating capacity. It will create a modern, energising and innovative environment that keeps pace with the diverse and changing needs of its users.

The refurbishment reflects the University's Masterplan and will benefit students and staff on the Caulfield campus. To find out more about the project, check the Library website.

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4 June 2015

Ace that exam!

Different types of exams require different preparation. Regardless of the exam type, however, time is your most important ally during revision and during the exam. Use time wisely and you'll have a built-in advantage to do well in your final Rachelle Tessie Rechtman

As a business student my exams are often pretty stock standard. This semester I am doing marketing decision analysis which will involve a lot of calculations and being able to interpret the results. My other exam, marketing communications, is pretty much the opposite requiring the ability to write mini essay style answers which cover various topics throughout the year.

Exam revision and preparation time

Even though at the beginning of every semester I tell myself that after each class I am going to write out my notes, it never happens. I will often get to week 10 at which point I will begin my revision and preparation time for my exam. Exams that require calculations are really hard to study for. I personally learn best by doing the questions myself instead of just listening to lectures. I will therefore try and get my hands on as many practice questions as I can. I will often prepare by going over my tute work by myself. It is very different being walked through how to do the question by the tute and actually doing it by yourself. Simply knowing which numbers and formulae to use is often the hardest part of these exams.

General tips on how to prepare for exams  
  1. Use colour. I have a million colour highlighters that I use to link different concepts together and highlight important pieces of information. 
  2. Get plenty of sleep before the exam. I applaud people who can stay up all night learning the content just before the exam, but I however am not one of them. I need my sleep and know I do not function at my best without it. Why bother putting yourself through that unnecessary stress. 
  3. Don’t cram, spread study out. If you use your time wisely just four weeks is enough time to get your sh*t together to ace that exam. 
  4. Use the help of your tutors and their consultation hours, they get paid to be there. 
  5. Don’t just write a to-do list, actually timetable out when each task is to be done and stick to it. 
During the exam 
  1. Use reading time wisely.  
  2. Wear a watch. Set aims and don’t spend too long on one question. Look at how many marks the question is worth and allocate time accordingly. 
  3. Keep hydrated, but not too much otherwise you have to go to the bathroom and waste valuable writing time. Lastly, ignore the temptation to put vodka in your water bottle. 
I hope this article has provided a few handy tips for everyone.

Image: D. Gallagher, under CC 2.0 licence

Rachelle Tessie Rechtman is one of the students we asked to write an article for the Library blog that focuses on their exam strategies and tips. We publish articles providing information and professional advice from our learning skills advisers and librarians but we thought we'd hear from students, too. We want to know what works for them, particularly at this critical time when students need to make the grade.  

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3 June 2015

Advice from an exam survivor

How are you supposed to prepare for an exam when your lecturers, in their infinite wisdom a la Professor Snape, haven’t given you anything to go on and refuse to help? Hopefully these tips will give you an answer, and let you keep all your hair….by Sara Nyhuis

Image: Pixabay
You have an exam coming up. There are no practice questions because the exam hasn’t changed in over five years. All you know is that you have approximately five million multiple choice questions to answer, twenty diagrams to draw, and a ten page essay at the end. “But it’s okay because I remember all the course material and I’m super prepared,” said no one. Ever.

In my first year, my first exam was BIO1011. A daunting task of 144 multiple choice questions, and all the lecturers said was that there would be six questions per lecture. As it was my first uni exam, I felt a bit like Harry every time he faced Voldemort; a confusing mixture of completely doomed and too cocky for my own good. Then second year came along, and suddenly I had six exams and a desperate need for a time turner, my only saving grace being that my friends all felt as lost as I did.

Because exams are hard, and that’s why we have them. But here’s my advice, and what I’ve done for every exam that I’ve felt I’ve been given no direction in (and so far so good!).

Revision and preparation

Figure out the key topics. For multiple choice exams, your best bet is subheadings. Like in BIO1011, if you have six questions for each lecture and six subheadings, you can pretty safely bet that you’re going to have one question for each.

Know it inside out. Study until you can call yourself a know-it-all and be proud about it. It sounds like an impossible task, but once you’ve broken down your lectures into sections, you can tackle those sections one at a time, write yourself out some questions, and really get to know them.

Avoid cramming. We’ve all done the last minute cram until 3am, frantically trying to memorise every circulatory system in the animal kingdom (well, maybe not there specifically). We stuff everything into the short term memory file and forget it the second we walk out the door. But as long as you’ve done the exam, that’s fine, right?

Wrong. Most units follow on sequentially, with the first providing foundations for the second. If you get a decent night’s sleep before an exam, you will retain more long term information than a 3am V-fuelled stint. Exams aren’t designed for short term memorisation, but long term depth of knowledge that needs to be understood properly to be applied. Not only will the question actually look like English rather than Klingon, but you will feel more relaxed because you’re able to answer it confidently.

You might think mnemonics are corny, but they really work. Can’t remember the Order of Classification? That’s fine, just ask yourself what Barbie said to Ken and you’ll remember it. Unfortunately the answer to that is probably too inappropriate for this article, but you get the idea - there are plenty of memory tricks available on the web, and they do actually work for the long term.

In the exam

You’re in the exam, your hand cramps are getting debilitating and your pen just ran out... I’m pretty certain we’ve all felt like either curling into the foetal position or storming out in a blaze of glory at this point, never to return. So how do you stay focused?

Use your reading time. Seriously. It’s given to you for a reason. Take your time, actually use it, and prepare some answers in your head to get you started.

Stick with what you know. Answer the questions you know first. Get them out of the way so you can devote more time to the harder questions later, knowing that you’ve at least answered something. Multiple choice questions can be knocked out in two minutes flat if you answer the easy ones first.

Process of elimination. In multiple choice exams, the harder questions can often be tackled by working out what the answer isn’t before working out what it is.

Read the questions. It may sound ridiculous, but my biggest failing in exams has been to misread the question. Read it several times over, underline key words if you have to, and make sure you know what it wants from you.

Identify key terms. Underline them, highlight them, throw a party for them - do what you will, but make sure you know what they are. Most questions will use key terms, and they are an enormous hint. So do your markers’ bidding and use them.

After the exam


But seriously. Relax. And don’t immediately study for your next one, because that’s just brain cruelty. Go have some lunch and take a break, then share your exam techniques here to help other students do as well as you just did.

Good luck!

Sara Nyhuis is one of the students we asked to write an article for the Library blog that focuses on their exam strategies and tips. We publish articles providing information and professional advice from our learning skills advisers and librarians but we thought we'd hear from students, too. We want to know what works for them, particularly at this critical time when students need to make the grade.  

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2 June 2015

Library habits die hard

I believe I’m a pretty typical student at Monash University. I do a double degree of Business (majoring in marketing) and Arts (majoring in media and communications). I spend way too much time surfing the web and my recent shared household Netflix account has not helped the situation. My parents can provide a testament to the correlation between the increased internet usage bills and exam time as my procrastination tends to reach an all-time high. Therefore I often retreat to the Caulfield or Matheson Library to cut off access to Rachelle Tessie Rechtman

“Swot Vac is probably my favourite time to be in the library” – said no one ever. I believe a large proportion of what puts people off from going to the library is the knowledge that if you go past 12noon you will not be able to find a seat.

To me the library provides a place of solitude where I can go to concentrate and separate my home and uni life. I like studying in the library better because I am not surrounded by so many distractions and the sight of other hard working students reminds me that I should be working just as hard.

What I do in the library

The obvious answer to this question is study. Thinking about this more, I realise there are quite a few things that I do in the library that make up my study as a whole. First of all, I really like going to the library with a friend. I don’t go to the library with the intent of socialising because there are so many other places to socialise I am not sure why anyone would pick the library. It’s more about having someone to motivate me when I get distracted. Friends are also awesome to complain to about how much work you have to do and how you are going to fail the exam.

I do also like to eat while I study. It’s probably a really bad habit when I think about it. I often break the library's rule and bring in hot food during lunch time. I understand why the rule is in place because I hate studying at a dirty desk. However I draw the line at messy and smelly food. Of course coffee/Red Bull is a must and I can’t even imagine a library without caffeine.

Sometimes I even go to the library to get books, crazy I know. I usually borrow textbooks as I don’t see the point in buying $100 books for 12 weeks at uni.

I probably wouldn’t go to the library with the intent of listening to an online lecture. If I had time between classes I would go to the library to listen to one, but otherwise online lectures are made to listen to at home.

Where I like to sit

I personally cannot stand noise when I study, I don’t listen to my iPod and I hate people talking. Therefore my favourite places to sit in the Caulfield Library would be the third set of stairs up in the quiet area amongst the books. It is a really nice area and if you want to get up and get a book you are right there. I often will try and get to the library early to ensure I get a prime seat.

I don’t particularly have a favourite nook in the Matheson but I always head to the first level in the morning which I quite like. I don’t mind if I’m in a group area of the library and people are talking quietly about work, however if people are there just eating and socialising it’s really annoying because it makes me jealous that I’m not doing that.

Thanks to everyone who has read this article and I hope others can relate to my experiences in the library and aren’t getting too stressed over exams. Have you ever broken any library etiquette?  What do you think of people talking or eating in the library? Would love to hear your thoughts and maybe see you around the library during Swot Vac.

Image: Matt P. under CC 2.0 licence

Rachelle Tessie Rechtman is one of the students we asked to write an article for the Library blog that focuses on their exam strategies and tips. We publish articles providing information and professional advice from our learning skills advisers and librarians but we thought we'd hear from students, too. We want to know what works for them, particularly at this critical time when students need to make the grade.  

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About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

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