Making a short list

A useful starting point to choosing a journal can be to identify a short list of the journals that may be suitable. There are a variety of sources of information to help you with making your short list.

Think about the journals you know and read
Consider the journals that you are familiar with, those that publish articles you have read.  These are probably are great starting point

If you use reference management software such as RefWorks or EndNote and you have a database of the articles of interest to you, this may help you to easily identify the journals that published the articles.

Ask your colleagues
Asking your colleagues for their recommendations is another good place to start. Your research group, supervisor or research team will probably have suggestions or recommendations for relevant journals and may have had experience of submitting to them. You may also be able to find out if your Department or Research Centre has a list of preferred or recommended journals.

Look at lists of journals in your subject area or discipline
There are lists of journals by subject that may help you find journals for your short list.

♦   Some of the library databases include a list of the journals they cover which can then be sorted by subject. For example in the Proquest databases there is ‘Publications’ menu

♦   The Directory of Open Access Journals can be used to find open access journals in many subject areas. It has a ‘by subject’ section – once you have selected a subject, you need to limit the results to journal.

♦   The database journal citation reports provides lists of journals in broad subject categories (it covers the journals indexed in Web of Science)

♦   There are also subject specific directories of journals. For example, in the Health disciplines there is the NLM catalog : journals referenced in the NCBI Databases

♦   Google Scholar Metrics has lists of journals in subject categories.  However, they are quite broad areas.

GS metrics
Consider professional body guidance
There could be academic or professional body guidance that you can refer to. For example, the Chartered Association of Business Schools CABS Academic Journal Guide 2018

Find journals that publish similar articles
If you are not sure which journals publish articles in your area, you can use a relevant library database (find these using the Library’s subject guides) or a generic database like Scopus to search for articles on your topic or by a key researchers and then look to see which journals the articles are from.

Some databases have features which can help you with this process.  For example, in Scopus, the ‘Analyze search results’ feature can be used to show you a list of the journals that the articles in your search were published in, sorted by how many of the articles come from each journal.

Consider using journal selectors/finders
You may come across tools that are designed to help you select a journal to publish in. These are usually limited to journals in a particular field, for example, Jane (journal/author name estimator) for biomedical sciences or to journals from particular publishers – Elsevier journal finder the Springer journal selector and the IEEE publication recommender. There are other journal selectors also available, but please be careful before posting the abstract and other details of you article to a site without considering if there are any copyright and confidentiality issues.

If you have an EndNote online account, the “Match” option helps you to find possible journals using a system called Manuscript Matcher. It recommends journals based on the articles in your database. This short video shows you how manuscript matcher works.

Once you have a shortlist of possible journals you should consider each journal in more detail ; thinking about the scope, reach, discoverability, prestige, trustworthiness, etc.