Tools for Finding the Best Academic Journal for Your Research Article

Great Tips To Find The Journal For You

Female academic translator uses academic dictionary to complete a translation

You have completed your research project and may have already written a draft of your article.

Now, where are you going to submit it to?

Scholars are often not aware of all the relevant journals available to them. The first thing to do is to get an idea of what kind of journal is most appropriate for your manuscript and understand what criteria you should use in order to choose the best fit.

Once you complete this process, you should then avail yourself of the tools available online to identify and assess potential journals. It is important to remember that every scholar has different goals for publication and different benchmarks for success. Some scholars want to publish where they think their research will make the greatest impact on the conversation in the field, while for others the speed of the response and publication time is critical. Therefore, you should analyze every journal carefully using the relevant tools below to see if they help bring you closer to your goal.

It is important to stress that these tools are not meant to be a replacement for speaking to your colleagues and advisors, who are most familiar with your field. Also, sometimes looking at your own research, and the sources you cite, can help you get some leads for potential journals. In general, if you read journals in your field, you should be up to date on which journals could be a good option for your new research.

Journal Finders

The following tools will help give you ideas for where to publish your paper, based on the keywords, abstract and title you write. Think carefully about what keywords are critical for your research and accurately reflect the topic as a whole. Much like any Google search, some of the results may be relevant while others should be ignored. You must analyze each of the results critically to see if they are relevant to your article.

It is important to note that many of these sites are promoting their own journals and will likely not give you results from other publishers. One way to circumvent this is to set a google alert with your main keywords. You will then be informed when there is a journal that has published an article with the same keywords as your research.

Springer Nature Journal Suggester

You can choose the journal that best fits your needs from over 2,600 Springer journals. You need to copy in your abstract or a description of your research. You can then sift through results based on Impact Factor or whether a journal is open access.

Journal/ Author Name Estimator (JANE)

Type in the title or abstract of your paper and then click on ‘Find Journals’. The site will then compare your article to PubMed and find the best matching journals.

Elsevier Journal Finder

This journal finder helps you find journals that will be most appropriate for publishing your article. You need to type in your title and abstract and select your field of research.

Cofactor Journal Selector

This is a free online tool to help you select the best journal for your paper based on numerous criteria. You can sort your search by speed, cost, selectivity or impact. They also list top journals to give some ideas. You need to answer their questions in order to find the best results.

Journal rank of importance

You may also want to peruse top journals in your field to see if they might be a good fit for your research. The most common method for measuring the importance or success of a journal is by its impact factor, which measures the yearly average number of citations of recent articles published in a scientific journal. Many scholars are encouraged to try and publish their research in journals with a high impact factor.

However, it is important to be aware of the limitations of the impact factor system.

  • First, the number of times an article is cited doesn’t necessarily reflect the value of that particular article. For example, if an article is problematic, a few subsequent articles may address these weaknesses in their research. Nevertheless, this will improve the impact factor score of that particular article.
  • Second, new or niche fields may not have a high impact factor due to the constraints on their field and not because of the value of their research.
  • Third, scholars may trade citations with each other even if they are not critical for the particular research at hand. This skews the impact factor and makes it unreliable.
  • Fourth, the impact factor of any particular article can go up and down and will likely be different between now and the time your article is actually published. 
  • Fifth, impact factor may vary between different fields and it is important not to compare the scores between different disciplines.

Scimago Journal and Country Rank

The Scimago index is a measure of the scientific influence of academic journals which takes into account the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from.

RMIT Ranked Journal Listings

This resource contains links to journal quality listings in a number of different fields in the humanities and social sciences.

Excellence in Research for Australia List

An unofficial list of journal rankings by the ERA divided by field of expertise.

Acceptance rate

There are a number of other important factors to consider when trying to pick a journal. If you think your article is particularly groundbreaking it might be worthwhile to aim for a highly rated journal even if it has a low acceptance rate.

However, if your research is localized or deals with a niche topic, it may be worth considering a journal with a high acceptance rate to increase your chances of being accepted and published. This is especially true for junior scholars for whom going through the review process is a valuable experience in and of itself. If there is a higher chance that the article will be considered, that can help build confidence and positive experience which will encourage you to submit additional manuscripts.

Time for review and frequency of publication

One of the most frustrating parts of article submission is the time spent waiting between the different stages of the process. On average, journals take six to eight months to accept a paper and then another six to eight months to publish it. In some fields, it takes even longer. Therefore, it is important to consider how long it will take for the journal to respond to your submission. Some publications publish this information on their website while others can be found on third-party websites (see below).

Another important factor that should contribute to your decision-making process is how often a journal publishes a volume. A journal that publishes 4-6 times a year may be a better option than one that only publishes every 3-4 years. There is generally a correlation between publishing time and impact factor so think carefully about what is more important to you.

In addition, be sure to look up the journal’s acceptance rate before submitting. Impact factor and acceptance rate usually correlate (the higher the impact factor, the lower the acceptance rate) but this isn’t always the case. Also, acceptance rates are often self-declared by the journal themselves and not entirely accurate.

Sometimes, it is simply a matter of consulting with colleagues or even asking the journal editors how long the process will take.

Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching

List of journals in the field of education broken down by acceptance rate, time for review, and frequency of publication.

Journal Reputation

Last but not least, be sure to read what your colleagues around the world are saying about the journals in your field. If certain journals have a reputation for giving helpful feedback and responding in a timely manner, it might be worthwhile to start your process there. 

Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Candid reviews of 70 leading journals in the field of humanities and social sciences to aid you in selecting the right journal for publication. The reviews are sometimes too negative and nasty, but in general, they tend to be helpful.

Journal Reviewer

Scholars share their personal experiences with over 850 journals. This site can help you see how your colleagues have faired with their submissions and help you determine if you want to submit there as well.

Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies and Theory Journals Wiki

This is an open-source platform for scholars to share their experiences publishing in the fields of comparative literature, cultural studies, and theory. Scholars can learn about specific journals or submit feedback based on personal experiences.

Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers

Librarian Jeffrey Beal has compiled a list of predatory publishers to which you should be careful not to submit. You should be sure to cross-check the publisher on this list to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of.

Make a List

Don’t forget: 80% of journal article submissions are rejected. If your article was rejected it doesn’t mean that your research is not valuable and won’t be warmly accepted by another journal. Make a list of your top 3-5 journals so you can easily move to the next option on your list.

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