Top tips for choosing a journal
Speak to colleagues who have published widely. Where have they published, what was their experience and what advice can they offer?
Look through your references. If you have referenced articles from a particular journal you know they publish articles on a topic you are interested in.
Systematically search for journals using your research keywords and save these titles as a journal shortlist. Most good literature databases, including Library Plus, will have options to create accounts and save searches - make use of these services to help create a journal shortlist.
Sign up for journal alerts. Alerts are especially useful for tracking special issues and choosing conferences that are linked to journals. A good conference paper can turn into a journal article with little or no revisions.
Record some notes about each journal, for example -
- The publisher - Who are they? Do they have a good reputation? Ask around.
- The website - How is it presented and is it easy to navigate? Would your article get lost amongst the rest?
- Are articles given a DOI number, making them citable and easily discoverable online?
- Who indexes the journal? Are articles indexed by the major journal databases, e.g. Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, JSTOR, ScienceDirect, all of which have quality assurance protocols to select which titles they include.
- Recent content - Are the named authors and editors people that you recognise / are respected in the field?
- Turnaround time - If this is relevant in your discipline, how quick is the journal's turnaround time from submission to publication?
- Peer-review - What is their process for peer-review? Single blind / Double blind / Open review / Transparent review - see Terminology pages for definitions and consider the pros and cons of each for your own situation, audience, ethics and career stage.
- International or UK-based - This could be important depending on who your target audience is.
- What altmetrics and bibliometrics are associated with this journal? These are potential indicators of a journal's reach and impact.
- What Open Access options are available? Green, Gold or Platinum? Be mindful not to opt for Black! See Terminology pages for definitions and consider what Open Access policies your research funder may have in place, including HEFCE.
- Publication fees - if there are fees to submit or publish with the journal, what exactly do they cover? Make sure the other quality-assurance checks above are met before considering publishing in a journal that charges the author. Beware of predatory journals that masquerade as quality, Open Access journals.
Feeling like it's lot to take in?
Your Subject Librarian will know where to look to find a wide variety of conferences and journals. They can also help with systematic searching and setting up accounts and alerts so key information can come to you. Make an appointment with them for help and assistance - you might be surprised!