Choosing the Best Scholarly Journal for Your Paper: 5 Tips Publication in a peer-reviewed journal is an effective mode of communication through which a researcher can connect with colleagues within a field of study and to the wider scientific community. Every researcher is well aware of the need to ‘publish or perish’. A researcher’s quality and number of publications is often considered a measure of research productivity.

Although the entire publication process (from selecting the right journal for your article to getting your manuscript published) can be a lengthy process, the final outcome benefits you in several ways. It validates your work, provides a platform for budding researchers, can benefit your academic career, and most importantly can help you obtain fellowships and grants. However, your manuscript will not receive the attention it deserves if it is submitted to an unsuitable journal. This is one of the most common mistakes by researchers in the international community. In such a scenario, even exquisite work can get rejected, or worse, go unnoticed if published. So, the first step in successfully publishing a journal article is selecting the right journal.

Listed below are five crucial criteria for choosing the best journal for your paper.

1. Look to your own references and where experts in your field publish

Look at which journal articles you have cited in your own paper and what journals they are from. If there are several from the same journal, consider that journal to determine if your paper may be appropriate for it. Then, if that journal has published similar work to yours (for example, from experts in your field), it may be a good choice for your manuscript.

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2. Compare the field and scope of your manuscript with the journal

Determine if the scientific field and scope of your work matches the journal’s scope. It is always beneficial to read the information provided on the journal’s website about the scope of the journal (typically found in the “About the Journal” section) and any significance criteria that must be met by your article. This will likely give you a clear idea if the journal is appropriate for your work. For example, the Journal of Molecular Biology covers all areas of molecular biology, including cell signaling, gene expression, and DNA replication.

3. Look at the Impact Factor and/or SCImago Journal Rank (with caution)

The impact factor (IF) indicates the average number of times articles from a particular journal are cited in a given year, thus, monitoring the quality of the journal. The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator provides an alternative to the IF, and it uses a special algorithm to determine the journal ranking. Most journals provide their IF or SJR on their websites, and you can compare journals using these rankings. Generally, publishing in a high impact journal will be highly rewarding for your research in terms of future prospects. Some external websites, such as Journal Citation Reports (JCR), provide the IF of a journal. These typically require a subscription via your university or institution. A free service provided by Scopus provides the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) of international journals. These types of services conveniently list journals and their IFs or SJRs in each field (i.e., biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc.). Nonetheless, the IF or SJR of a journal should not be the sole criteria when selecting a journal. Journal rankings are a complex topic and will be addressed in detail in future articles.

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4. Determine the journal’s turnaround time

A journal’s turnaround time typically depends on the peer review process, which determines the quality of the articles published in the journal. Most journals display the date submitted and the date accepted on the publication, providing a good idea of the turnaround time of that journal. Another noteworthy metric to consider is how many articles the journal publishes in a year. Some journals publish monthly, whereas others publish only quarterly or annually. Additionally, some journals accept manuscripts via an online submission system, which can speed up the review process compared to those that accept manuscripts via mail or email only.

5. Determine the constraints of the journal

Ensure that you thoroughly read the journal’s guidelines (typically in the “Information for Authors” section of the journal’s website) to avoid wasting time and effort submitting your article to a journal that has certain specifications that your article may not meet. For example, some journals have a word limit that you must adhere to, and if your manuscript exceeds the limit, the probability of rejection will be higher. For example, the word limit for research articles published in Science is approximately 4,500 words or up to 5 pages including references. Likewise, another drawback may be the cost of publishing your scientific paper in the journal. If the cost exceeds your budget, consider other options, such as journals that do not require a fee to publish.

Choosing the right journal to publish from the thousands available can be intimidating. A wrong choice can waste time, energy, money, and resources. After the difficult and long process of obtaining quality data, the last step is publishing your article in the right journal.

We at Falcon Scientific Editing ease this difficult process by providing you with high-quality editing , formatting , translation , and illustration services ( ). We also provide full support throughout the publication process, free sample editing/translation (Editing Certificate upon request with every editing order that you can submit with your article to the journal. Successful publication is often coupled with strategic and meticulous planning and rigorous review. Armed with the above tips on how to choose a journal and a willingness to improve your work when needed, publishing in high-quality journals will just be a step away!

About the Author:

Choosing the Best Scholarly Journal for Your Paper: 5 Tips Lavina Miranda has a Master of Science in biotechnology from St. Xavier’s College with expertise in molecular biology and microbiology. After graduation, she worked as a content designer and E-tutor. To pursue her passion for scientific research, she then joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2014 where her work included reprogramming probiotics to become viable vessels for the treatment of superbug infections. In her current role as a researcher at Kuwait University, her project focuses on the effect of garlic ( Allium sativum ) on the expression of insulin m-RNA and polypeptides in the tissues of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Apart from research, she also enjoys exploring new places, socializing with people from different cultural backgrounds, and dancing.

Topics : Publishing tips
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