How to Evaluate and Select the Right Journal for Publishing Your Research

How to Evaluate and Select the Right Journal for Publishing Your Research

This is the second in a four-part series. Use the links below to view the rest of the series:


It can be difficult to identify the best journal(s) for publication, especially since some publishers take advantage of researchers. Read on for criteria to determine the credibility of any journals you’re considering, and if that journal is the best fit for your research.

Criteria for Evaluating the Credibility of Journals

To evaluate the credibility of a journal the following criteria may be checked. Please note that combination of all these criteria should be used to properly evaluate a journal.

  • Reputation and ranking: examining a journal’s ranking and reputation is of the ways to evaluate the journal. Various metrics may be used to rank the journals. The higher score is associated with a higher ranking. The most popular metrics are:

    • Impact Factor, which is formed based on the average number of citations of the journal articles as indexed in Journal Citation Report (JCR) (http://about.jcr.incites.thomsonreuters.com/).
    • SJR (http://www.scimagojr.com/), which is a measure of the scientific influence of a journal that is calculated based on number of citations indexed in the Scopus database; the score is weighted, meaning that citations from more prestigious journals have a higher weight.  
  • Indexed: the journal should be indexed in credible databases such as ERIC, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc. 
  • Peer-review procedure: the journal should clearly explain their peer-reviewing procedures. A very quick turnaround time may indicate partial peer-review procedures.
  • Editorial Board Members: the journal should list their editorial board members affiliated with known universities and academic institutions.
  • Previous authors: the journal’s previous authors should be affiliated with various academic institutions.
  • Charges and fees: credible journals usually do not charge authors for publication.
  • Solicitations: be aware of journal solicitations. Some unknown/predatory journals may send solicitations, often via email. Note that some credible journals may also send paper invitations via email, so it is best to refer to the above criteria to evaluate credibility of the journal.    
  • Predatory publishers: these are the publishers without adequate credibility; these predatory journals may not pass the above evaluation criteria. A list of some of the predatory publishers is available by Beall’s List of Publishers on Scholarly Open Access, http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/. As of January 2017, this content has been removed by its publisher. For additional suggestions visit, The Office of Scholarship Support’s Response to Beall’s List Going Offline.

 

Criteria for Selecting an Appropriate Journal for Your Manuscript

Once you evaluate the credibility of journals, you may select an appropriate journal that fits your manuscript. You may use the following criteria to identify the appropriate journals for your manuscript publication. 

  • Scope and Objectives: check the objectives of the journal and ensure your manuscript and journal objectives are aligned.
  • Issues per year: a higher number of annual issues increases the chance of acceptance.  
  • Acceptance Rate: a higher acceptance rate increases the possibility of being accepted.
  • Turnaround Time: some journals have a long turnaround time. Be sure to check the turnaround time as you may submit your manuscript to only one journal at a time. 
  • Author’s copyrights: check the author’s copyrights in your target journals. The article copyrights which include the rights for distribution and reproduction of the article are usually transferred to closed access journals while open access journals may have different policies.  
  • Ideal Journal for Novice Authors: new journals with high acceptance rates are ideal for novice authors.

Additional Resources