How to choose the right journal for your research

Did you know that a mismatch between your topic of research and the scope of the journal you submitted your paper to is a common reason for rejection?

Yes, often times, research articles get rejected because the topic of study does not fall within the scope of the journal. This is also the most avoidable reason for rejection. Choosing the right journal is the first step of research publication. To increase your chances of getting published, it is important to identify journals that are specifically looking for the kind of research you and your team conduct.

There are many online tools that offer authors assistance with choosing an appropriate journal. However, these online tools are based on an algorithm and cannot replace careful consideration of all factors such as desired impact factor, likelihood of a journal being interested in publishing an article from your field of work, and target readership. Many journal article editing services, such as Editage, offer publication support services like Journal Selection. In this service, on the basis of the research conducted, our team of journal specialists will shortlist 3-5 best-suited journals and provide a list of pros and cons of submitting your manuscript to each of the journals. Most journal article editing services that provide journal recommendations more or less consider the following factors:

  1. Scope of the journal
    The scope of a journal can be broad, multidisciplinary, or very specific. Usually, journals publish papers from a very specific subject area. Even within that subject area, the journal may focus on a particular aspect of that subject.
  2. Article type
    Check whether your target journal publishes the article type you intend to submit. If your article is a review, check that the journal publishes reviews. Even if your topic of research matches the journal’s scope but your article type is not published by the journal, your paper will get rejected.
  3. Readership and target audience
    It is more important to reach the right readership than reaching a wide readership. If your research findings would benefit a larger audience, look for a multidisciplinary journal that reaches a wide and non-technical audience. If your topic of research is highly specialized and would be relevant only to researchers in that field, choose a journal with a specific target audience.
  4. Journal visibility
    Your paper may get accepted and published in your target journal. However, your research should be easy to find by other researchers. Journal visibility increases the visibility of your research and hence the number of times your work is cited. Once you have a journal in mind, check if it is indexed in the popular subject-specific databases in your field. You should also check if your journal is available online. Journals that are only circulated in print will greatly limit the number of people reading your article.
  5. Turnaround time
    If you want your paper to be published by a particular date, it would be wise to consider the peer review period of the target journal. A journal that publishes monthly is likely to have a shorter review period than a journal that publishes only once a year. It is also a good idea to check whether the journal has an online edition and whether it posts accepted articles online once approved for publication. Open access journals are a good option for authors looking to get published as soon as possible (within two months).

You can use the following checklist to help you shortlist a journal.

  • Does the subject of your article match the journal's subject focus?
  • Does the journal accept the article type you intend to submit?
  • Is the journal read by your target audience?
  • Is the journal included in bibliographic and subject-specific databases?
  • Does the journal have an online edition?
  • Is the journal's impact factor in line with your requirements?
  • Is the journal regarded as a prestigious one in its field by colleagues and peers?
  • What is the turnaround time for articles submitted to the journal?
  • How many times a year is the journal published?
  • What are the publication charges?
  • Is the length and structure of your manuscript acceptable to the journal?

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