Selecting a journal in which to publish is complex. There are many issues, such as discipline, themed issues, links to conferences, aim of the article, etc. to take into account. Careful consideration should also be given to the choice between traditional and open access publication.
Although many authors complete their manuscript and then decide to which journals they want to submit their work, much time and effort can be saved if you choose which journal you want to send your work to at the very beginning of the writing process. Different journals have different stylistic specifications which need to be strictly adhered to. Specifications are found in the journal's author guidelines. Each journal has a specific mandate and articles are frequently rejected because they do not fit the aims and scope of a journal.
Keep in mind that you may not submit your article to more than one academic journal at a time. If your article is rejected by one journal, you can consider submitting it to a second, but only after you modify your paper to fit that journal’s specifications.
Experienced scientists will likely have a journal or two in mind at the outset; however, if you are an inexperienced author, start by making a shortlist of journals within your subject field.
Create a shortlist
There are a number of ways to find journals in a specific subject field:
- Faculty librarians compile subject guides which often offer a list of journals related to the subject field concerned.
- Find it: Library webpage > My Library > Subject guides
- The ISI Journal Citation Reports categorise journals by subject.
- Find it: Library webpage > Search > E-databases > Journal citation reports
- SciVal Experts provides a list of journals where the most publications of a particular unit have appeared. The list is ordered with the journals that have the most publications included at the top.
- Find it: Library webpage > Quick links > Research Performance Management Tools > SciVal Experts > Select a Department > Click on Journals.
- Browse the A-Z list of electronic journals
- Find it: Library webpage > Search > E-journals > Subjects
- Browse the Library’s journal shelves. Look up the call number of a journal you are familiar with and then look on the shelves around it for other journals with the same subject.
- Ask your supervisor or mentor for a recommendation, but only if he or she publishes regularly and in a variety of journals.
- Analyse the citations in your own research. Where were the articles you cited published? This can help you find journals that publish work on your topic and from your angle.