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Journal Visibility and Impact

These two sections briefly summarize strategies for making your journal visible, and checking your impact. If you have any further questions, please contact your librarian for more assistance.

Visibility #

Student journals can be promoted through department websites, mailing lists, classroom visits, posters, social media, and word of mouth. If your goal is to expand your readership beyond your campus community, the PKP publication Getting Found, Staying Found provides an overview of strategies for making your journal more visible in academic communities and on the web.


An ISSN is “an 8-digit code used to identify newspapers, journals, magazines and periodicals of all kinds and on all media–print and electronic” (ISSN International Center, n.d.). They are a counterpart to ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) used to identify books. You will need a different ISSN for print and electronic versions of your journal.

You can submit an ISSN registration application up to three months prior to the publication of your first issue, but the ISSN will not be registered until the first publication has been released. The issue must contain at least 5 articles to qualify.

In addition to the international centre (linked to above), many countries have a national centre where you can submit a request for an ISSN. The national centres are often within a country’s national library (e.g., in Canada the national centre is within Library and Archives Canada).

DOI numbers #

DOIs are a number sequence used to uniquely identify an online resource, and are used to identify individual articles. They provide stable links to journal content: even if an article moves, its DOI will not change. Having a DOI assigned makes it significantly easier to cite an article and track its citations. DOIs are purchased through Registration Authorities such as CrossRef.

PKP provides documentation with information on how to set up DOIs, and CrossRef, in OJS.

Search engines #

Google crawls the web and automatically adds new sites to its index. If you can’t find your journal on Google, you can submit your URL manually.

Google Scholar identifies scholarly papers based largely on their format. PKP’s Google Scholar guide provides guidance around the indexing of Open Journal Systems (OJS) in Google Scholar. Google Scholar’s inclusion guidelines specify that articles should meet the following criteria:

  • Articles should be in PDF format
  • The title of the paper should appear in a large font at the top of the first page
  • The authors of the paper should be listed below the title on a separate line
  • There should be a bibliography at the end of the paper

Domain Name / URL #

If your journal is being hosted by your library or institution, it likely has a URL that includes your institution’s name and may be quite long. You may want to register a different domain name for your journal to keep the URL straightforward and easy to remember. You may want to get your country-level domain (e.g., .ca), nonprofit (e.g., .org), or more general (e.g., .net). There are several websites that allow you to register a unique domain name for a relatively affordable annual fee; you can then redirect your OJS site to the new URL.

Databases and indexes #

Databases are searchable collections of journal articles. They also contain citation information, or metadata, about each article. Metadata is information such as article title, authors, and abstract. Indexes are similar, except they only contain metadata.

Commercial databases have strict inclusion criteria, generally requiring journals to have a stable publishing history and an editorial board comprised of respected researchers. This may be an option for a well-established journal with faculty editors.

See the section on Indexes and Databases in Getting Found, Staying Found for more information about getting your journal indexed.

Social Media #

Social media can be used to announce new articles and engage with your audience. You can also advertise Board positions and share calls for submissions.

Directories #

Directories are lists of organizations or publications. Most are lists of journal titles, but some include links to full-text articles. Some that list student journals include:

Library catalogues #

A simple way to make your journal more accessible is to have it included in your university’s library catalogue or e-journal list. Once your journal has published 2 or 3 issues, consider approaching your university librarian and requesting that the journal be included in the library catalogue and e-journal list. The library will need your ISSN.

Impact #

Citation statistics #

Google Scholar provides a free citation tracking service to show how often work in your journal is cited by researchers. If your journal has been indexed by Google Scholar, this service will allow authors to monitor the impact of their articles. Authors must register for an account, and complete a user profile.

Readership statistics #

Tracking readership statistics can help you understand your audience. These statistics will show whether you are reaching your target audience, and provide information about how readers are interacting with your journal. This data will help you promote your journal more effectively.

Most content management software includes features for tracking page views and downloads. The Learning OJS guide includes details on the Report Generator options for tracking usage in OJS. Tools like Google Analytics and Matomo Analytics allow you to collect more detailed information, such as seeing how long people are spending on each page, tracking unique and repeat visitors, and monitoring how frequently visitors view your site.