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Social Work

Choosing & Assessing Journals

Find a Match

Wondering where to publish your research? Start by developing a list of potential journals that might fit your work.

  1. Ask your mentors.
  2. Find journals published by professional societies.
  3. Search databases for work on similar topics.
  4. Tools like Cabell's Directories and Ulrichsweb Serials Directory will generate a list of journals by subject or keyword. Cabell's also includes information about submission and review procedures.
  5. Review the websites of potential journals. You'll usually find more about the journal's purpose and scope, and you can browse articles from recent issues. If it looks like a journal of interest, take the time to review their submission guidelines and learn about their review process.

Assess the Journals

Journal metrics such as Impact Factor, acceptance rates or h-indices can help you determine how a journal stacks up against other journals in the field and may help you determine where to submit your manuscript. These numbers can vary wildly between disciplines, so only compare the impact factor of a journal with other journals in the same discipline.

Impact Factor

A journal's Impact Factor is determined by taking the number of times articles within the journal have been cited over the previous two years and dividing by the number of articles published. Citations used for this calculation are based on Web of Science (Social Science Citation Index) data.

Acceptance Rate

Acceptance rates for journals can sometimes be found in Cabell's Directories, though the databases is selective about which journals they track. If your journal isn't included, or an acceptance rate isn't listed, go to the journal website to see if it's available there, or try contacting the journal editor.

H-indices

An h-index is the highest number of articles a journal has published that have been cited at least than many times. So, a journal with an h-index of 57 has published 57 articles that have been cited at least 57 times. As the number of highly-cited articles rises, so does the h-index.

A true h-index considers citations over the journal's life (or all the years citations have been tracked by the tool doing the calculation). An h5-index looks at the most recent 5 years, and is often a better indicator of a journal's current influence.

Scimago Journal Ranking

Web of Science Article Prevalence

UT Libraries Resources & Services

Journal Legitimacy & Predatory Publishers

Select publishers have used the open access movement as a cover for taking advantage of scholars, especially early career researchers, to make a profit. To protect yourself from publishing scams, be skeptical when

  • There is no review process or the review process is unusually fast
  • No revision of your work is required
  • You can't find details about the editorial board
  • The journal doesn't clearly display guidelines, policies and fees or responses to related questions are vague
  • You receive a mass email soliciting papers
  • The reputation of authors who have published in the journal is questionable

In general, when you encounter a journal you're unfamiliar with, always take the time to investigate its legitimacy before choosing to submit your manuscript for review.

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