Skip to Main Content

Where to publish your research article: Qualities of a good journal

Information and resources to help you make important decisions about where to publish your research.

Elements which affect the quality of journals

  • Reputation – of the journal and the publisher
    The reputation of the publisher, journal, editor and editorial board can give an indication of the quality of the journal.
  • Scope and focus of the journal
    It is important that your article reaches the readers who can most benefit from it and who can most benefit you. The scope and aim of the journal will give an indication of who the journal’s readers are, e.g. national or international, limited to a select area of research or with a multidisciplinary focus. Your article should also suit the style of the journal.
  • Turnaround time / publication lag
    What is the length of the review process? Average length of time from submission to acceptance or rejection; from acceptance to publication? Frequency of publication?
  • Included in prominent indexes
    Are articles from the journal indexed in journal databases relevant to your field, or in citation databases such as Scopus or Web of Science?
  • Longevity
    The number of years the journal has been around can be an indication of its stability and its interest to academia.
  • Editorial standards / Journal information
    The competence of a journal’s editorial office can hugely influence the success or failure of an article. Make sure that the “Instructions to Authors” are easily accessible and that they set out clearly what is expected from authors. Does the journal come out on time or is it often two or three years behind? Is the journal carefully produced with a professional appearance, or does it have many typing errors, poor paper quality and other signs of neglect? Does the journal accept electronic submissions? This simplifies the submission process, allows swift management of manuscripts and makes it possible for authors to track the position of their manuscripts in the review process.
  • Acceptance rate
    The acceptance rate gives an indication of how competitive a journal is. Journals with a low acceptance rate are considered to be amongst the most prestigious in their field, the assumption being that only the very best articles are selected.
  • Cost
    Be aware that some journals charge either a submission fee, an acceptance fee, page fees or fees for use of colour images or other special media formats.
  • Rights for authors
    Check the journal website or their copyright form for information on author rights. Are you allowed to re-use the article after publication or to submit the post-print to the University’s research repository?
  • Type of publication
    Some journals only accept certain types of articles for publication. The next section discusses the different types of journals and types of articles.