Skip to main content

Research support for Law PhD students

This guide will help law PhD and MPhil students to begin their legal research using the University Library's resources

Scholarly publishing

Why publish strategically?

Publishing strategically can improve the chance of your research being published, improve your reputation as a researcher, increase the chance of your research making an impact and add to your track record and resume.

Dr Lauren Notini shares her top ten tips for publishing strategically!

Scholarly Publishing: How to publish strategically from unilibrary on Vimeo.

More information

If you want to know what other factors to consider in decisions regarding potential journals to submit to for publication see the Scholarly Publishing Guide.
All University of Melbourne graduate researchers are required to include an ORCID on the title page of their thesis. See Preparation of Graduate Research Theses Rules.

Follow Think Check Submit on Twitter to support your publication decisions

What is an ORCID?

ORCID stands for: Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create an international, interdisciplinary, central registry of unique and persistent identifiers for individual researchers, and a way to link the identifiers with researchers' outputs and activities. Registration is free.

All University of Melbourne graduate researchers are required to include an ORCID on the title page of their thesis. See Preparation of Graduate Research Theses Rules.

Why use an ORCID ID?

An ORCID identifier will help you to distinguish your research activities and outputs from those of other researchers with similar names, and make sure you get credit for your work.
ORCID has been endorsed by The University of Melbourne and the inclusion of ORCID on the title page of RHD theses was mandated in late 2015.
An ORCID identifier provides a:

  • Unique, persistent identifier which you can link to your other IDs such as your Scopus Author Identifier and ResearcherID

  • Profile page which can include your: list of publications, employment history, research interests and links to other profiles.

How to register for an ORCID identifier

Registration for an ORCID identifier is free and fast: go to and enter your name and email address and create a password.
NOTE: If you have more than one university email address, it is important that you make sure that your ORCID profile has all your email addresses associated with it to avoid duplicate ORCID identifiers being created.

What is Google Scholar Citations?

Google Scholar Citations lets authors set up a profile page that lists their publications and citation metrics.
The citation metrics are updated automatically, and you can choose to have your list of publications updated automatically or update them yourself.
You can make your profile public, so that it appears in Google Scholar results when people search for your name.

Journal-level metrics

Journal-level metrics aim to measure the influence of a journal. There are many journal-level metrics based on different methods/tools of calculation and datasets. However Professor Kathy Bowrey from Faculty of Law, UNSW, states that "metrics remain insufficiently developed to provide a credible and robust proxy to assess law journal quality". Bowrey, Kathy, ‘A Report into Methodologies Underpinning Australian Law Journal Rankings. Prepared for the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD)’ (2016) 30 University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series

With that in mind, journal citation data should not be used in isolation to evaluate the prestige and suitability of a journal, especially in Law. Talk to members of the Law Faculty to see what weight employers, promotion committees and funder stakeholders give to journals. Find out which journal is best suited to your research area, it may be interdisciplinary. Aim to integrate these factors as well as the results from journal-level metrics into your publication planning process. In doing so you will be able to choose the journal best suited for you!

Methodologies underpinning journal ranking are being questioned across all faculties in Universities. It is a reminder that producing consistent quality research should be your main focus.

Factors to consider

Journal Impact Factor:
Journal impact Factor (JIF) reflects the average no. of citations that can be expected for an article within 1-2 years after publication.
Refereed/peer-review status:
Does the journal's publication processes include refereed or peer reviewed measures?
Acceptance/Rejection rates:
If a journals rejects all but a small percentage of the articles submitted for publication, it is likely the the journal's standards are higher.
Reputation of editor/editorial board:
The reputation of the journals editor or editorial board is a good indication of a titles prestige.
Sponsorship by learned societies:
Gauge the reputation or the association, society or organization publishing the journal.
Reach of journal (International/Australian):
Consider the geographic reach of the journal.

Find out the journal's frequency of inclusion within indexes and databases.

Journal Circulations:
Can sometimes indicate the quality of the journal  but is dependent on publication reach factors.


Once you have developed a short list of potential journals for publication - use the tools listed below to gather important supporting information to inform your decisions. Using these tools will save time - information is presented consistently and there are comparative options.


Law journal rating lists

Journal rating lists have been created to supplement the rankings from Journal Citation Reports and Scopus Journals.

Subject specific journal ranking lists

  • SCImago
    The SCImago Journal & Country Rank is developed from the information contained in the Scopus database. Citation data is drawn from over 34,100 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers and country performance metrics from 239 countries worldwide.

  • ABDC Journal Quality List
    Australian Business Deans Council Journal Quality List 2016 includes 2,700 titles ranking business, economics and commercial law journals.

  • Washington and Lee Ranking of Law Journals
    Published annually providing rankings for over 1,500 law journals.

What do editors & reviewers want?

Tips for acceptance

  • Understand the criteria for article selection, fulfill the requirements
  • Read author guidelines and adhere to them
  • Examine articles preferably from the most recent issues to get a feel for the topics, themes, writing style, points of view etc.
  • Consider if your article suits the particular characteristics of conventions of the journal

NOTE: Remember submitting an article is an amazing way to have distinguished scholars and editors engage with your work and provide feedback. 

Why Open Access publishing?

Open access can be defined as the free, immediate, online access to the full text of research articles for anyone webwide.

  • Publishing within open access journals means research becomes discoverable so can be read, cited and offers opportunities to attract potential collaborators.
  • Making research open access means it becomes more discoverable to policy makers and government. This increases the potential for social impact and engagement.
  • Open Access complies with NHMRC and ARC policy requirements to share knowledge of publicly funded research.

Open Access Repositories & Journals

Minerva Access Minerva Access is the University's Institutional Repository. It aims to collect, preserve, and showcase the intellectual output of staff and students of the University of Melbourne for a global audience.
Social Science Research Network Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of research and is composed of specialized research networks in many disciplines. LawArXiv is a free, open access, nonprofit, pre and post-print repository for scholarly legal content. It is owned and maintained by members of the legal community.


Use the following resources to identify the best Open access journals to publish in and check publishers open access policies.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). DOAJ is an independent community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
SherpaRomeo SherpaRomeo is a database you can use to check publishers policies regarding “self archiving” so to avoid copyright infringement.
How can I share it? The Can I Share It look-up tool provides an easy way to check where a journal article can be shared in line with the paper’s access and usage rights.

Predatory publishers

Predatory publishers are exploitative publishers charging sometimes excessive publication fees to authors without offering the usual editorial and publishing support associated with legitimate journals. There isn't a definitive list of predatory publishers available.

Vanity Publishers

Vanity publishers are publishing houses which charge authors to have their works published without the selection criteria usually used in hybrid publishing models. Protect your future academic credibility and ensure maximum prospects for future publishing of your work in credible journals by carefully evaluating the credibility of these publishers BEFORE accepting any offers.

Predatory Conferences

Predatory conferences (conferences promoted to fraudulently make money from attendance fees) are becoming an increasingly common part of academic life. When you receive emails to invite you to attend conferences, how do you know which one is legitimate, and which one is a spam invitation to collect registration fees for one that doesn’t exist?
Think.Check.Attend is a useful tool that can help determine the legitimacy and academics credentials of conferences.


Loading ...