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Selecting a Journal

Tips for selecting a journal

You may start this process by wondering, “How do I choose a journal in which to publish? There are so many!” You would be right, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of medical journals among which to choose. So, here are some tips for deciding which journals would be good options for your article.

Starting your search for a journal:

  • Talk to your peers or professors and ask where they have been published. This will give you a good place to start.
  • Next, search for scholarly articles that are in the same field and along the same themes, and identify the journals in which they are published.
  • Use a tool for looking up journals. These can include indexes like the Directory of Open Access Journals, a journal directory like Ulrich’s Web, or an AI tool like Jane BioSemantics

What do I look for in a journal?

Consider the publishing model with which you would like to publish .
  • Open Access publications make your work accessible to a much larger audience, but may include an article processing charge. Refer to the “Open Access” tab of this publishing guide section for reasons to consider publishing with Open Access journals. 
  • Subscription publications do not charge author fees, but are hidden behind a paywall which limits access to certain readers.
Consider the journal’s “prestige or reputation”.
  • What have you heard about this journal? If you have heard bad things about it, that it's papers are low quality or that they cut corners in the editing process, you probably don't want to publish with them. Not every journal can have the prestige of The New England Journal of Medicine, but you probably want to avoid journals with a bad reputation.  
Consider the journal's impact factor or other metric. 
  • An impact factor is an indicator of how important a journal is in their field. It is calculated by the number of times articles from it are cited in a year.
  • However, it does not necessarily look at the quality of those citations. Only journals which have been in circulation for at least three years can receive an impact factor. So, while many potential authors are interested in publishing with journals that have high impact factors, this factor does not necessarily reflect the importance or quality of a journal as well as you would first think.
  • For more information on impact factor and other journal metrics, check out the Journal Metrics page. To look up the impact factors of different journals, go to the Journal Citation's Report
Consider the journal's ethics.
  • Does this journal agree to abide by ethical publishing guidelines? This includes being transparent about important journal functions such as copyright policies, potential publishing fees, a commitment to a thorough peer review process.
  • A journal's commitment to transparency in its processes is one of the best indicators of its quality. 
  • Check whether the journal is a member of an ethical publishing group, like the "Committee on Publishing Ethics" (COPE).

Useful Resources

Tools for Finding a Journal

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