There are many factors you may consider when choosing where to submit your work for publication. Using the tools and directories listed below to look up information about journals, visiting journals’ websites, and talking with a mentor, colleague, or librarian are all great ways to gather information before making scholarly publishing decisions.
Tools and Directories
- Cabell’s Journalytics Medicine - gathers relevant information about medical and academic journals to help research professionals looking to publish research, review scholarly contributions, or gain accreditation.
- Ulrichsweb.com - find information about scholarly journals and other periodicals.
- Journal Citation Reports (JCR) - presents quantifiable statistical data that allows users to determine the relative importance of journals within a field – particularly in science, technology, and social sciences.
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - indexes quality open access journals and includes information on articles processing charges and editorial policies.
- Journal Author Name Estimator (JANE)
- SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)
Aim & scope
Think about this as the ‘who’ and the ‘what.’ Who is the journal’s intended audience (readers) and what discipline(s) does the journal encompass? If you are using Cabell’s, look for this information in the ‘dashboard’ section of the journal profile under ‘about this journal.’
Article type & formatting
It’s important to understand what kinds of articles a journal accepts and publishes (i.e. original research, review articles, opinion pieces, etc.). The journal will likely ask that you format your paper a certain way and abide by a certain word count. This can usually be found in the Submission Guidelines or Instructions for Authors section of a journal’s website. In Cabell’s, look for this information in the ‘submissions’ section of the journal profile.
See the Predatory Publishing subpage of the Medical Library website to learn how to steer clear of questionable publishers.
There are many metrics you may take into account beyond journal impact factor.* You may be interested in a journal’s acceptance rate, or the rate at which papers are cited, or the attention a journal’s work receives on social media and in the news. In Cabell’s, browse the ‘smart citations,’ ‘attention,’ and ‘submissions’ sections of the journal profile. Use JCR or visit the journal’s website to understand its impact factor.
*journal impact factor is calculated by dividing number of citations by number of citable articles, per year
Peer review process
Learn about how your manuscript will be handled, how you will receive reviewer feedback, and how long the process takes. In Cabell’s, look for this information in the ‘peer review’ section of the journal profile.
Many journal websites will list how long their review process takes, along with time to publication. In Cabell’s, look for this information in the ‘submissions’ section of the journal profile, or go directly to the journal website.
Open access & APCs
Some journals publish all papers open access and some journals give authors the option to choose open access publishing or subscription-access publishing. Diamond open access journals publish works OA free of charge, whereas, most other journals charge an article processing charge (APC). You can learn more about OA on the Open Access Publishing page. In Cabell’s, look for this information in the ‘open access’ section of the journal profile. DOAJ is another great resource for finding information on OA journals.
“Original works” are protected by copyright and the copyright holder determines how reuse permissions are granted. In OA publishing, the author typically retains copyright, allowing them to reproduce, distribute, reuse, and remix their research. Make sure you read a publishing agreement or contract in its entirety before signing. Consider negotiating with the publisher to retain rights to your work, especially if you plan to build upon the work in the future. Visit the journal’s website to see what copyright license would be associated with your published work.
Database indexing & discoverability
Many people use databases to find scholarly articles instead of visiting a journal’s website directly. So it’s important to understand what databases the journal you are considering publishing in is indexed. You can visit the National Library of Medicine website to see what journals are indexed in MEDLINE, and/or search for the journal in Ulrichsweb.com and look in the ‘online availability section,’ and/or visit the journal’s website to determine where it’s indexed.