How to choose a journal
Ask the right questions, and get the right result
Choosing a journal for your research can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. By asking some simple questions you can quickly narrow your focus. Make sure that the top reason editors give for rejecting articles – that authors have submitted to the wrong journal – doesn’t apply to you.
“Be … tactical in terms of thinking about which journal you want to send your paper to so you don’t end up wasting your time.”
Professor Stephen Ball, Editor of the Journal of Education Policy
Where to start when choosing a journal
Firstly, talk to your supervisor, colleagues, and friends and ask them for recommendations. You should also go to your library and check journal and publisher websites.
Then, a good way to narrow your focus is to find out which journals publish articles related to your research. What do you regularly read? Could one of those journals be a good fit for your paper?
Refine your shortlist
Once you have a shortlist, you can refine it by asking the right questions:
- Do I want to publish my article in a general-interest journal, where it can reach a wide readership? Or will publishing in a specialist journal be a more effective way for my research to reach the right audience?
- Do I want to publish my work in an international journal, or is my research region-specific?
- What’s the journal’s peer-review policy? Am I happy for my work to be reviewed in this way?
- What’s the submission process?
- Do I want publish my work in a learned society journal?
- Do I want to publish my work open access?
- Which journal metrics are most relevant? Is it important to publish in a journal with a good Impact Factor or would I prefer to submit to a journal publishing articles that regularly receive high Altmetric Attention Scores.
Answers to these questions for choosing a journal can be found by checking the journal’s Aims & Scope and Instructions for Authors (all on Taylor & Francis Online).