How to choose a journal

With an estimated 30,000 active scientific journals, each with their own specific requirements, it can be difficult to know where to send your article. Here, we present a short video blog with some tips on choosing the right journal.

In summary:

1. Look at your reference list

Identify the journal titles of:

  • articles that were fundamental in forming your research question,
  • articles on which your methodology is based,
  • articles that corroborate or contradict your findings.

2. Search for similar articles in indexing databases (e.g., Google Scholar, PubMed, Web of Science, etc.)

  • Use the “advanced search” feature to search for relevant keywords, short phrases, or even the full article title.
  • Search for articles published within the past 5 years.
  • Make a list of relevant journal titles (e.g., do any journal titles appear multiple times in your search?)

3. Investigate each journal title and narrow your list down according to personal (or funder) requirements

  • Is your article in line with the aims and scope of the journal?
  • What article types are accepted?
  • Does the journal support open access and what are the fees?
  • What are the journal’s impact metrics?

Predatory journals

With the rise of predatory journals (see our “Don’t fall prey to “predatory” journals” post), authors must now use caution when choosing a journal.

  • Is the journal a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?
  • Is there anything suspicious about the journal’s editorial board? Predatory journals often fraudulently list academics without their consent. You can check for this by cross-referencing information among different sources (e.g., the editor’s personal website).