There are a number of important considerations when choosing a journal in which to publish your research paper. In fact, choosing the correct journal before beginning the submission process can save you lots of time, meaning your article could be published sooner. But how do you know which journal is right for your work?
- Do your research. Don’t just assume that a journal of business studies will be interested in an article on the teaching of business studies, for example. Look for journals that have recently published articles in your particular area: the more closely related to your article, the better and the more likely that your article may be a good fit for the journal. Search your library database for keywords in your field to help locate appropriate journals.
- A good tip is to begin with journals that have published studies cited in your article. These are journals (and readerships) already familiar with your specialisation and the arguments informing it. Even better, these are journals that have already proven an interest in the literature you are drawing on—submitting your article should be like adding your voice to an ongoing conversation.
- As a general rule, do not publish in journals that require you to pay a publication fee or that solicit the work of little-known academics. Most reputable academic journals do not charge for publication and have no need to solicit work.
- Consider whether you want your article to be open access or subscription. This can affect your choice of journal. Some journals publish all articles as open access. Other subscription-based journals will charge a hefty fee—either to you or to your institution—to make an exception for your article and grant it open access. You can find information about access and self-publishing policies by searching for individual journals in the SHERPA/RoMEO database.
- Ascertain the quality of a journal before submitting to it. This can be achieved in several ways. The simplest is to look at where the specialists in your field are currently publishing. You can also check the journal’s ranking using various tools, such as SCIMAGO Journal and Country Rank, which calculate the impact of journals based on their citations.
- Ensure that your chosen journal is indexed in a range of academic databases, such as Scopus, Google Scholar and Web of Science, so that your work will reach the widest audience possible and receive the greatest number of citations.
- Check whether the journal is peer reviewed. The highest quality journals always submit articles to rigorous peer review. This can also be a useful way to develop your work further, based on the feedback of expert reviewers.
- Contact the editor directly before submission to enquire whether he or she would be interested in publishing your work. This has the dual advantage of saving you the time of preparing your work for submission to unsuitable journals and of introducing yourself and your work to the editor before the consideration stage.
All in all, it is necessary to spend time selecting the right journal for your article. This important decision can not only speed up the publication process but also ensure that your work is read and cited by the maximum number of readers.
Emily Finlay, PhD, AE (IPeD)