Choosing a journal

Ask the right questions, 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.

Read on for further information and guidance to make sure that the top reason editors give for rejecting articles (that authors have submitted to the wrong journal) doesn’t apply to you.

Before you start

Ideally, you will have an idea of where you want to publish your research before you write your article.

Vector illustration of a tree with a character on the left and another character on the right, watering the tree.

Choosing the journal before you start writing means you can tailor your work to build on research that has already been published in your journal of choice. This can help editors to see how a paper adds to the ‘conversation’ in their journal.

In addition, as you go through this guide you’ll see many journals only accept specific formats of article, and may well have word limits and other restrictions.

Build a shortlist

As with the rest of your work, thorough research is key to choosing the best journal for you to publish in. Given the vast number of academic journals in existence, you need to have a few ways to narrow down the field to a shortlist of potential candidates.

Do some desk research

You are probably already familiar with various journals in your field from your research work. It’s worth taking a look at these first to see whether they might be a good fit.

In addition, do some searching within your library’s subscriptions and tools like Google Scholar to see which journals have published research on your subject area. And don’t forget, you can browse our journals by subject area at Taylor & Francis Online.

Speak to colleagues, supervisors, and your librarians

Another good way to identify the right shortlist of journals is to speak to knowledgeable people around you – colleagues, supervisors, and your institution’s librarians.

Depending on who you’re speaking to, you can ask a whole range of questions to help you narrow down your search, and find the best journal for you to publish in.

Did you know?

We offer a program helping researchers in the Global South because we know researching and preparing work for submission can be challenging for authors and researchers who have fewer opportunities to access journals, whether financial, technological, or otherwise.

STAR: supporting authors in the Global South can help by providing free access to articles from our leading journals across subject areas.

Example questions to ask…

  • Which journals do they read regularly?

  • Which ones do they believe are most respected?

  • Have they had good experiences publishing with particular journals?

  • And, of course, do they have ideas about which journals will suit your specific research field?

Search call for papers

Most journals remain open for general submissions year-round. But often, a journal will promote a particular theme or topic by creating a special issue and putting out a call for papers (essentially a specific ask for submissions related to the theme). 

You can search special issues and calls for papers to see whether there are any journals actively looking for research like yours. We list all of ours on our dedicated calls for papers page on Author Services.

Explore journal suggester tools

Several publishers have journal suggester tools available for you to use. These tools help you with your search, to find the best journal for you to publish in.

Our Journal Suggester works by analyzing your article abstract to find a shortlist of our journals that publish research like yours.

All you need to do is copy and paste the abstract of your article and hit the ‘Reveal suggested journals’ button. It couldn’t be simpler.

Helping you find the best home for your research

You might like to try the Taylor & Francis Journal Suggester. Simply paste your article abstract into the suggester to receive a list of related journals to consider.

Refine your shortlist

Take the time to go through your list of prospective journals carefully to make sure you find the right fit for your research.

It is important to check through the journal’s aims and scope, which will help you to consider whether your article is relevant to the journal’s audience, and aligned with the journal’s purpose.

Once you have a shortlist, you can refine it by asking the right questions.

Below we have provided some example topical questions, to guide you when refining your journal shortlist.

    Understand the audience

    • 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?

    Review the journal’s policies and procedures

    • Do I want to publish my work in a learned society journal?

    • Do I want to publish my work open access?

    • Do I want to publish my work rapidly? Look into F1000Research, an innovative open access publishing platform.

    Understand how the journal’s performance is measured

    Remember…

    Check the journal’s aims and scope and read through the instructions for authors (these are all on Taylor & Francis Online) before submitting your paper to a journal.

    Choosing open access

    What are the benefits of publishing your research open access? Open access has clear benefits for readers as it gives them immediate access to the latest research. But what are the advantages for authors who publish open access…

    Increase the visibility and readership of your research

    Research published open access is available to anyone across the globe, at any time. Greater visibility can result in increased readership and citations of your research. Both can help your career and funding prospects.

    Demonstrate societal impact

    There’s increasing pressure on researchers to show the societal impact of their research. Open access can help your work reach new readers, beyond those with easy access to a research library.

    Publishing open access can help policymakers, non-government agencies, the media, educators, and practitioners put your research into action.

    Freely share your work

    With open access, you’re free to share your research around the world with no restrictions or paywall. Most open access articles have a Creative Commons license which explains how others can use and share the content.

    See our guide on copyright licenses for more information.

    Comply with funder mandates

    An increasing number of authors are required to publish OA by their funder, institution, or employer. Find out about major funder mandates and policies around open access.

    Thinking of publishing your work fully open access?

    If you’re interested in publishing your work fully open access, including any source data, consider submitting to F1000Research. F1000Research is an open research platform offering rapid publication for a wide range of outputs across different disciplines.

    Trusting in the journal you’ve selected

    As a researcher, how do you make sure that the journal you’ve chosen to submit your paper to is the real deal?

    The Think. Check. Submit. campaign enables authors to assess the trustworthiness of a journal or publisher. Find out more about how the campaign can help you to make an informed choice before sending your article.

    Taylor & Francis apply the same high standards to the open access publishing process, as we do in traditional publishing models. Read more about open access and quality.

    Think Check Submit logo

    Next steps

    Writing your paper

    Now that you have chosen your journal, it is time to write your paper.

    Get stuck into our resources, to help you with the next stage in your publishing journey.

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