Selecting a journal for publication: considerations and resources to aid in the decision-making process

When nearing completion of a research study, it is important to start thinking about where to publish an article. Having a few target journals in mind can offer an idea about the scope of the journals (what topics and types of research are covered), the types of readers (audience), and how best to format or structure a paper based on the journals’ guidelines.

Here are some key things to consider as you are reviewing journals for publication:

  • What journal(s) do you, your colleagues, and mentors use for research and clinical care?
  • Is it clear what the aim and scope of the journal is?
  • Is the journal transparent in providing information about the editorial board, indexing status, the peer review process, reputation, and policies for authors?
  • Are you able to assess and determine the scientific rigor and editorial quality of the journal based on review of its publications?
    (Suiter & Sarli, 2019)

In addition to these criteria, it is worth exploring the impact or influence of these journals. There are several resources that can provide journal impact metrics such as Web of Science’s Journal Citation Reports to find Journal Impact Factors. Other tools for assessing journal impact or influence include Eigenfactor Metrics, Scimago Journal & Country Rank, and Scopus’ CiteScore metric. Read this article for more information about impact indicators and resources that provide them.

To help researchers discover reputable journals most appropriate for their research topic, there are tools like manuscript matching software. Web of Science’s Master Journal List offers a manuscript matching tool to help find the right journal. Other popular manuscript matching resources are listed in the table below.

Name Is it free? Minimum required information Information provided
American Journal Experts JournalGuide Paper Match Yes Manuscript title and abstract
  • Journal source-normalized impact per paper (SNIP)
  • Publication speed
  • Open access status
  • Similar articles
Elsevier Journal Finder Yes Manuscript title and abstract
  • Journal acceptance rates
  • Journals article impact factor and CiteScore
  • Open access status
  • Review and publication speed
  • Similar articles
EndNote Online’s Manuscript Matcher tool Included in the free EndNote Basic version but might not include all the features of the paid version Manuscript title, abstract, and references
  • Journals article impact factor
  • Journal’s rank in its field
  • Open access information
  • Similar articles
Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) Yes Manuscript title and abstract
  • Journals article influence score
  • MEDLINE indexing
  • Open access status
  • Similar articles
Springer Journal Suggester Yes Manuscript title and abstract
  • Journals article impact factor
  • Journal acceptance rates
  • Open access information
  • Publication speed

Source: Benjamin Saracco. (2018). Internet Resources: Ease the Journal Selection Process Using Manuscript Matching Software. Medical Library Association Newsletter.

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