Deciding where to publish your research can be a daunting task. Many criteria need to be considered to make an informed decision. This page can help you determine your publishing needs and offer some resources on finding the right journal for your research.
When evaluating journals, consider the following:
- Who is your audience?
- Is openness important to you? Do you want to maximize the reach of your research?
- Where are your peers publishing? If you’re a graduate student, where does your supervisor publish?
- Does the journal meet your standards?
Finding Places to Publish
Search your topic
- Select a subject database and search some keywords for your topic. For suggestions on subject databases, consult a Library Research Guide
- Look for filters which allow you to see where the articles retrieved by your search have been published. These filters may be labelled as Source Titles, Publication, or related terms.
Ulrichs is a database of more than 300,000 publications. Search your topic by keyword to find related journals; use the side filters to limit results to peer-reviewed publications that are indexed in subject databases.
- Serials Directory
Serials Directory includes more than 178,000 publications. Search your topic by keyword to find related journals; limit by language, publication type, country of origin and more.
- Journal Citation Reports
Select a disciplinary category to see a list of journals ranked according to citation data; provides Journal Impact Factor and Eigenfactor Score for journals.
These tools will match your subject or abstract with relevant publications in their databases.
Find publications by subject, peer review, open access, speed or review/acceptance and other factors.Mostly STEM publications.
- Elsevier Journal Finder
Paste your title and abstract to find a matching Elsevier journal. Can filter by open access.
- JANE – Journal/Author Name Estimator
Paste your title and abstract or do a keyword search on your topic to find appropriate journals or article reviewers. Based on the MEDLINE database. Created by BioSemantics Group at Erasmus University Medical Centre.
Browse by journal name, publisher, category or enter your title and abstract to generate appropriate publications for your research
Endnote users can try Manuscript Matcher, a tool that uses the title, abstract and references of your manuscript to connect it with content in Web of Science and “matches” it with relevant publications.
Open Access Journal Finder by EnagoSearches validated index from Directory of Open Access Journals to find relevant journals
Springer Journal SuggesterPaste your title and text to find matching Springer/BioMed Central Journals.
Journal Evaluation Strategies
Aims and scope
Are they appropriate for your research? Is the scope of your research broad or specified? Does the journal appeal to those in your field?
Does the research seem credible? Read more about credibility in Guides for avoiding predatory publishers at the bottom of the page.
Are members known names in your field?
Is the policy clearly stated?
Copyright for authors
How is it handled? Sometimes journals will have multiple copyright policies. Read carefully, and ask for clarification if needed.
Are they clearly explained?
Open Access policy
Is it clearly stated?
How is the journal disseminated? Is the journal indexed in databases relevant to your discipline?
E.g. if you are a nursing researcher, you may want to ensure your journal is indexed in a nursing database such as CINAHL or Proquest Nursing
Check for yourself as many dubious publications falsely claim to be indexed in prestigious subject databases.
Directory of Open Access Journals (doaj.org): DOAJ uses a quality-control process to ensure it lists legitimate open access publications
Location and contact information
Is it clearly stated?
How will archives be preserved?
Does it follow the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines?
Does the publisher belong to OASPA – the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association?
Beware of made-up metrics: Check the metrics listed by the journal are recognized and reputable.
Calculated by dividing the number of citations to a journal in one year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years; proprietary designation produced by Journal Citation Reports.
SCImago Journal and Country Rank
Uses Google Page Rank algorithm to indicate visibility of journals indexed in Scopus database.
Predatory publishing: definitions
“Predatory publishing generally refers to the systematic for-profit publication of purportedly scholarly content (in journals and articles, monographs, books, or conference proceedings) in a deceptive or fraudulent way and without any regard for quality assurance … these journals exist solely for profit without any commitment to publication ethics or integrity of any kind.” – COPE Council. COPE discussion document: Predatory publishing.
“Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.” — Predatory journals: No definition, no defence.
Key signs of a predatory publisher/journal
- Aggressive solicitation – e.g. spam emails
- Lack of clearly stated policies on:
- Peer review
- Article processing charges (APCs)
- Retractions/publication ethics
- Fake impact metrics or falsely claiming to have legit metrics e.g. Impact Factor
- False claims re database indexing
Additional red flags:
- “We take everything” – lack of subject-specific scope
- Unusually fast peer review process e.g. just a few days
- Manuscript submission via email vs submission software
- Shoddy website design and/or spelling, grammar and punctuation errors on website
- No preservation plan for content
- Retains author copyright
- “…some 1.2 million researchers have published in predatory journals or participated in predatory conferences, equating to billions of dollars in wasted research budgets and hours of wasted time.” – International Science Council: Combating predatory journals and conferences through systemic change in scientific publishing
- 150 predatory journals launched every month
- More than 15,000 predatory publications – Cabell’s Predatory Reports
- Advent of “mega-predatory” publishers, e.g. OMICS
Top tips for avoiding predatory publications
- Delete spam emails inviting you to publish
- Use the Directory of Open Access Journals to select an OA publication
- Applies rigorous appraisal to all included journals
- Includes almost 18,000 peer-reviewed OA journals (12,000+ without APCs)
- Indexing in DOAJ recognized as a hallmark of legitimacy
Avoid Beall’s list
- Subjective: based on opinion, not fact
- Overly broad: would disqualify many subscription journals
- Discriminatory: “…proponents of Beall’s ideologies to fight apparently predatory OA journals may be, intentionally or unintentionally, promoting a culture of discrimination, bias and possibly even racism in academic publishing.” — Teixeira da Silva & Kimotho, (2022)
- Two quick guides:
- Spotting Deceptive Publishers – from the Brock Library
- How to Assess a Journal – from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries
- Slides from Publish, Don’t Perish – Building Better Research Workshop
- Discussion paper: Predatory Publishing – Committee on Publication Ethics
Use this checklist to assess credentials of a journal or publisher. Produced by coalition of publishers and publishing organizations