Selecting a Journal
Even if you have a recommendation from a researcher in your discipline, you'll need to consider a number of factors to determine whether a journal is appropriate for your research. Here are some suggestions:
- Peer Review - Peer review means that submissions have gone through a refereeing process in which scholars in the field (usually anonymous to the authors) determine if the manuscripts meet the journal's - and the discipline's - standards for publication. Selection and promotion committees typically assign more value to an article published in a peer-reviewed journal than to an article published in a journal which is not peer-reviewed.
- Familiarity - Which journal is the source of most of the articles you refer to in doing your own research? Are the names of the people on the editorial board familiar to you? Do you cite their work?
- Theoretical Perspective - Does the journal have the same or similar theoretical perspective as yours? Is it interdisciplinary or written for niche audience? Check out the journal home page for information on what types of articles it publishes. Continue to the bottom of the page to learn about tools that will help in finding journals in your subject areas.
- Mission or Scope of the Journal - Look on the journal's website for "Scope" or "Mission" or "About this journal" and make sure that your article is appropriate.
- Frequency of Publication & Acceptance Rate - How frequently is the journal published? If a journal is published more frequently, there may be a shorter length of time between submission, acceptance and publication.What is the rate of acceptance for articles? Highly regarded journals will have more submissions and therefore a lower acceptance rate. New scholars may consider submitting to a slightly less prestigious journal with a higher rate of acceptance.
- Impact Factors, Citation Metrics and Download Counts - How influential is the journal? Is it a leading journal in its field? Continue to the bottom of the page to learn about tools that will help you find impact factors of journal and citation metrics.
- Submission Guidelines - Be sure to check the journal's submission guidelines, generally available on the journal website. Incorrectly formatted submissions will be rejected.
Call for Papers
A "Call for Papers" is a method used by publishers to collect articles, conference presentations, and book chapters for potential publication. The call will specify whether you should submit an abstract or a full article/paper/chapter which will then be reviewed for publication. Calls for papers come from a variety of sources, including publisher and association websites, in addition to the resources listed below.
- An international consortium of scholars and teachers, H-Net creates and coordinates Internet networks with the common objective of advancing teaching and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
- A collection of directories of academic journals for the disciplines of business, education, and psychology. Each journal entry is in PDF format and provides relevant information to potential authors such as acceptance rate, type of review (blind, editorial, or peer), time to review, publication fees, and manuscript guidelines.
- Search thousands of Calls For Papers in science and technology fields.
- Conference organizers use Twitter to promote their events and to solicit presentations - especially if submission deadlines are extended. For some examples, see #callforpapers.
Additional resources on finding calls for papers can be found on the Building Your Academic Profile guide.
Finding Journals in Your Field
Use the tools below to make a list of possible journals to publish your work. Each journal will have a specific focus, goal, mission and publishing guidelines that will guide your decision.
- Enter keywords for your topic, click Search, then choose Source Titles from the left menu to see a list of journals in the field.
- Ulrichsweb provides information about journals, such as: journal description type of publication (scholarly/academic, consumer); frequency of publication (how often a journal is published - semi-annually, monthly, quarterly, etc.), editor's name and contact information plus links to the journal's webpage.
- To learn about using Ulrich's Periodicals Directory download this handout.
- Part of MLA Bibliography. Click on MLA Directory of Publications at the top of the MLA Bibliography screen.
- Lists journals that publish articles on language, literature, folklore and pedagogy
- Entries list editorial contact information, frequency of publication, descriptions of the periodicals' scopes, circulation figures, peer review, and submission guidelines.
- Provides statistics for acceptance rate, the length of time between submission, acceptance, and publication.
Open Access Publishing
Open Access (OA) is both a theory and a movement – encouraging the removal of barriers to scholarly research, so that scholarly work is freely accessible by people everywhere. Open access advocate Peter Suber defines open access literature as “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.” The Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ lists OA journals from credible publishers and organizations.
While you are free to submit a manuscript to any OA journal, some journals request a fee for article submission and review. UBC Library supports researchers invested in OA publishing through discounts and financial supports to offset the cost of publishing.
With the growth of Open Access, a number of journals have been created with low (or non-existent) standards and questionable practices. These predatory journals exist primarily to receive publication fees from gullible or inattentive authors. Publishing in a predatory journal does not enhance an academic reputation. Here are some tips for determining whether a journal is legitimate or predatory:
- Review Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers. This list is updated frequently and provides the criteria for inclusion on the list.
- Review The Directory of Open Access Publishers. The Directory aims to include only legitimate publishers, though a few names are on Beall's List as well.
- Did the journal contact you first? Predatory journals send mass emails to potential authors and editors. Even if the title seems familiar, beware of copycat journals - predatory journals with titles that are very similar to high quality journals. Example.
- The website of the journal may offer some clues. Is the contact information generic? Are all the words spelled correctly? Is there a list of archived journal issues and volumes or is has the publication been sporadic?
- Does the journal request you send money to publish your article? This is not an uncommon practice for legitimate, high quality OA journals, but being aware of where that money is being sent is an important factor in evaluating a journal.
- What is the timeline for editing and peer review? Are you asked to supply contact information for potential reviewers? If the journal promises that peer review will take just a few days, be very suspicious.
Additional assistance with determining the quality of a journal is available from your Subject Librarian.
Journal Impact Factor
Journal Impact Factor, a product of Web of Science, is among the best known journal metrics. Calculated for the journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection databases, the journal impact factor is the frequency with which an average article from a journal is cited in a particular year or time period. A journal with a higher Impact Factor is often more prestigious than a journal with a lower impact factor. Many journals list their impact factors on their websites. Example. To find a journal's impact factor, search Journal Citation Reports.
More information at the Citation Analysis and Impact Factors guide.
Citation Tracking allows you to find publications which have referenced a particular article. While it does not provide a journal's readership level, the number of forward citations can indicate the "weight" of individual articles published in a particular journal.
Web of Science Core Collection, includes Humanities and Social Sciences Citation Indexes.
- Video Tutorial: How to Do a Cited Reference Search.
Google Scholar Search for any article in Google Scholar, then click on "Cited by" at the bottom of the brief description of the article. A list of publications that have cited the article will display.
Most open access journals and some subscription-based journals provided the number of times an article has been downloaded or viewed. For example, this article at PLoS One, Where Should I Send It? Optimizing the Submission Decision Process , was viewed more than 14,000 times in the month after it was published.