In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Guidelines for Publishing in portal
  • Marianne Ryan (bio) and Sara Dreyfuss (bio)

If you would like to publish your work in portal but do not know where to begin, this primer might be useful. Following are parameters to keep in mind and an overview of what portal editors and referees look for in a submission.

Editorial Philosophy, Aims, and Scope

First, make sure that portal is the right journal for you. Look at two or three of its recent issues to get a sense of the topics it covers, its scope, and its intended readership. The editors of portal reject many submissions simply because they are aimed at the wrong audience. Almost all portal articles deal with the impact of libraries within the context of higher education. Manuscripts about elementary education or K–12 libraries, for example, are likely not a good fit.

portal focuses on qualitative or quantitative research about the role of libraries and librarianship within the academy. Articles may address how technology affects librarianship and scholarship or examine the role of libraries in fulfilling the mission of their parent institution. Other papers deal with such topics as archival practice, copyright, data management, organizational theory, digital humanities, information technology, new approaches to research and teaching, and open access. Still others link librarianship to other disciplines, including computer science, management, and law. Both basic and applied research papers, including case studies, are welcome, as are essays that explore the more theoretical or philosophical underpinnings of the library profession.

The editors and Editorial Board of portal consider it critical for the library profession to engage a global audience, and so the journal welcomes submissions from other countries. To ensure clarity and readability, portal encourages international authors to seek a thorough review of any manuscript by a professional colleague who is a fluent in English.

The Manuscript Review Process

Submissions to portal go through a double-blind review process: the reviewers of the paper do not know who the authors are, nor do the authors know the identity of the [End Page 541] reviewers.1 The managing editor redacts any information or embedded metadata from the manuscript that could identify the authors and sends it to two referees, members of the portal Editorial Board.

The portal reviewers rate the submission using a standard assessment rubric. It asks the referees to evaluate the manuscript in several areas, including appropriateness to the journal's readership, originality, literature review, research methodology, and clarity of writing. Some referees also provide authors with a marked-up manuscript with additional comments and suggestions.

The editors who launched portal in January 2000 started the new journal in part "to provide a more inviting, constructive, and productive environment for authors." Managing Editor Gloriana St. Clair explained:

The major journals in most disciplines have prided themselves on their high rejection rates. The rationale has been that a high rejection rate signifies a strong commitment to and compelling evidence of quality. Nothing could be more wasteful of the scarce resources for library research than to replicate a system that encourages authors to create a finished product to be judged and rejected.2

The editors of portal think a more productive approach is to offer rich feedback as a type of mentoring to inexperienced authors. St. Clair says, "The portal board and editors want to help authors from the moment they decide to engage in research to the moment when they elect to submit the finished product either to portal or to some other journal."3 The assessment framework asks referees to indicate when a submission has merit but needs additional work before publication. If they determine that an author should revise and resubmit a manuscript, the editor will forward that recommendation to the author. Once the author has incorporated the suggestions of the referees, the revised manuscript will go back for review, usually to the original referees but occasionally to two other members of the Editorial Board. Over time, we have seen this process produce outstanding results.

Manuscript Preparation

Follow portal's instructions for manuscript preparation to the letter, including the requirements for length, formatting, and citations. If you do not comply with the guidelines, the editors and referees may have...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 541-547
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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