There are so many journals out there that choosing the one that best fits your work can be a challenging task. With interdisciplinary subjects in every area of specialization and new fields emerging, it becomes difficult to decide where to publish. Choose the wrong one and you might end up waiting 6 months to 1 year just to read a rejection letter. To save you from this ordeal we give you a simple step-by-step guide to select the right journal for any research paper with examples.

Steps to select the right journal for any research paper:

1. Make a list of the relevant fields related to your topic: Let’s take an example of a biotechnology paper with a tentative title “Utilizing waste glycerine for Biohydrogen production”.
The fields related to this topic includes:
Bioenergy, Hydrogen energy, Renewable energy, Waste utilization. Similarly, look at your topic and make a list of all the fields that are related to your work.

2. Make a list of all the journals related to each field: Now that you know what are the related subject areas on your topic, search for the journals on each. Make a note to not include the journals that seem to have no relevance to your work (for the above-mentioned example, since the topic is related to hydrogen energy, we need not to include Journal of wind energy or solar energy, although they are related to “Bioenergy”). Have a look at the list prepared for our example:

3. Go through the aim and scope of each Journal: Once you think you have a list of all the relevant journals, take a deep look at each. The website of each journal mentions its Aim and Scope very clearly. You should go through it carefully and determine with which journal’s scope your work fits best. Let’s take our above-mentioned example of work entitled “Utilizing waste glycerol for Biohydrogen production”. The author knows the results, the conclusions and implications of the work and having read the scope of first journal in the list, the journal doesn’t seem appropriate and hence the authors decides to delete it from the list.

Similarly, each journal is gone through and a new list is generated.

Please note: If you have a review article, make sure to enlist only the journals accepting reviews.

4. Look for the impact factor of each journal: Every journal’s quality and its reputation can be assessed by its impact factor. You can find the impact factor of a journal mentioned on its website. It can range from as low as 0.1 to as high as 35. It basically tells you the average number of citations an article in the particular journal receives. Higher the impact factor, stricter is the publication process.

If you however pass the publication guidelines of a high impact factor journal, your career might get a boost increasing your chances of getting a job, a grant or a post-doc position.

Please note: Journals on very core or emerging subjects have fewer researchers and hence have lower impact factors. Thus, when submitting for such journals decide which one attracts the relevant audience best.

5. Author Guidelines: Every journal has its specific guidelines or instructions to be followed before submitting the manuscript for publication. It mentions the word count, preferred layout, formatting, referencing style, etc. Manuscript must thus be prepared keeping in mind the journal you wish to submit your paper into. It is thus very important that you choose the right journal since a rejection may require you to reformat your entire manuscript (even increasing or decreasing the word count extensively).

Beware of fake Journals: When the pressure of publishing is heavy, new authors can easily fall into the trap of fake journals. These journals might send spam emails calling for publication with exciting deals like “publish in just 6 weeks”. Thus, before you choose a journal do check for the following:

  • Standard Identifiers- DOI or ISSN are identifiers of legit journals.
  • Article Processing Charges (APS)- Although reputed open access journals also charge APS but they will reveal the amount beforehand and will charge only after the paper has been accepted for publication. Fake journals however might not reveal exact fee and might also ask you to transfer your work’s copyright to the journal.
  • Indexing– Fake journals are not indexed in online databases such as Directory of Open Access Journals. Do check in the databases for the journal’s name even if the journal claims to be indexed.
  • The holy grail, Jeffrey Beall’s list of predatory Journals– Check out the list here.

Having followed all the steps you can find the journal that best fits your research work or you can also consider seeking a professional reviewer and publication expert’s help. This can prove to be a crucial decision as choosing the right journal can boost your career, help you get funding or the desired job.

Send us your query at if you seek a professional’s help.