Selecting a Journal

You want to build your academic reputation, but how do you know to what journals or academic presses you should submit your work? You'll want to consider norms in your field, recommendations from peers and advisors, and the extent of your desire for open access. Check out the tabs below for more guidance on finding and evaluating journals.

Finding Journals

Cofactor Journal Selector
Cofactor Journal Selector is a free tool that helps researchers find and evaluate scholarly journals. Cofactor allows you to search for journals with specific peer review and open access qualities.

JournalGuide is a free tool that helps researchers to find and evaluate scholarly journals. JournalGuide is not affiliated with any specific publishers or journals, so it provides a comprehensive search of potential publication venues.

EndNote Manuscript Matcher
EndNote Manuscript Matcher uses your your title, abstract, and references to help you find the right journal for your manuscript.

Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE)
JANE uses data from PubMed to help you search for articles and journals similar to your research. You can also browse the list of journals currently indexed by Medline/PubMed.

Elsevier JournalFinder
Elsevier Journal Finder helps you discover Elsevier journals that may be best suited for your research.

Springer Journal Suggester
Springer Journal Suggester helps you discover Springer and BioMed Central journals that may be best suited for your research.

FlourishOA is a resource for identifying high-quality, high-value open access journals.

Evaluating Journals

With journal publishing, you will often be making choices based on the "impact" of various journals - meaning how these journals are recognized and perceived in the scholarly community, the frequency of citation in articles from those journals, and the link. For more discussion of the various statistical measures of impact visit our Tracking Your Impact guide.

But you should also consider the impact in terms of openness. That is: Who can access the scholarship being published by that journal? Is it open for reading by all, or confined to only those institutions able to pay? Learn more about open access with our Open Access guide.

If you've evaluated a journal for impact and openness but you will have questions about the legitimacy of a journal, there are several ways you can screen for propriety.

  • Are you getting confusing spam? If you've been receiving unsolicited e-mails from journals with which you you are unfamiliar, this may be an indication of deceptive practices. But it could also mean the journal is new and hasn't established a track record yet.
  • Have you checked for deceptive characteristics? Researchers in 2017 identified various characteristics of deceptive journals. They went on to summarize these as:
    • low-article processing fees (less than $150)
    • spelling and grammar errors on the website
    • an overly broad scope
    • language that targets authors rather than readers
    • promises of rapid publication
    • a lack of information about retraction policies, manuscript handling, or digital preservation
    • manuscript submissions by e-mail
    • the inclusion of distorted images

There are several lists of predatory publishers, but many are outdated or problematic. Instead of relying on lists, which are subject to error, bias, and become outdated, we recommend thinking critically about the journal in which you plan to publish and using the Think. Check. Submit. checklist. You can also contact a librarian for guidance on evaluating a journal.

Learn More

Some content on this webpage has been derived from "Evaluating Publishers" by OU Libraries and is used here under a CC BY 4.0 International License.