Best Practices

Best Practices for Student Led Publishing- Journals, Magazines and Newspapers
Many of these elements should be clearly stated in the “about” and “policy” pages of the journal.


  1. Aims and Scope: What is the purpose of this publication?  In general terms, what does it cover?
  2. Subject: what scientific and scholarly subjects are covered? What areas of the arts and literature are covered?  Use your own terms, and if you want ideas, refer to the Library of Congress Classification Outline and/or the bepress Digital Commons taxonomy.
  3. Sources: what are the sources of the material?  Dartmouth students only, Dartmouth alum, contributors from across the U.S., or the world
  4. Audience: what is the primary target group, both as contributors and as readers?   Undergraduates, general public, professionals?
  5. Type of Content: what is the nature of the content for a substantive part of the publication?  Examples are: research articles, editorials, art work, poems, conference reports, book reviews.
  6. Sections of the publication: based on the Type of Content, designate sections of the publication.
  7. Language: What languages are accepted?


  1. What is available and to whom?  Is the full text of ALL content available for free online and open access without delay?
  2. Is there a fee to receive a print version?
  3. Is the publication discoverable in search engines and aggregations of journal content?  Where is it indexed?  Is it in the same digital environment as similar publications?
  4. Do users have to register to get additional features, notices of new issues, etc.?  If there is user registration online, there should be a privacy policy regarding use of the data.

Copyright and author rights:

  1. Who owns copyright to the articles and other content?   The authors should retain copyright but the publication’s policy should be to apply a Creative Commons license to the articles and other works.  CC BY is most common; CC BY NC may be used as well.
  2. Who owns copyright to the publication web site?  CC BY NC is also fine for this purpose for the whole site.

Consult the Copyright, Author Rights & Fair Use section of the Scholarly Publishing & Communication Research Guide

Quality of Content and User Experience:

  1. What is the quality control system? The publication must exercise quality control on submitted papers using a peer-review or editorial review system. A publication should have an editor and an editorial board. Many Humanities publications have a form of editorial review using only two editors and no editorial board. Editorial board members must be clearly identifiable with their affiliation information.
  2. Is there a procedure for reporting on plagiarism or other issues that someone might have with the content?
  3. Is there a manuscript management system that ensures timely and fair review of the materials?
  4. What platform is being used, and does it forward the goals of the publication?
  5. In what form are the materials presented? PDF or an interactive online environment or?  Are the materials marked up in XML, HTML5 or other format for persistence in the online environment?
  6. Are references linked and do they include DOIs?

Information about the Journal: 

  1. Does the publication have at least one ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) registered at In general, if a publication exists in print and online, then it should have both an ISSN for the print version and an ISSN for the electronic version.
  2. Does the publication use DOIs for the items published, to enhance linking from other sources?