Guidelines for publishing your paper in a Suitable Journal

Features of a good journal

  1. Impact factor – This is the average number of citations received by a paper published in that journal during the two preceding years. A journal with high impact factor shows that the articles in the journal are cited more frequently.
  2. Recognizable editorial board – If you don’t know any editorial board member, at least your colleagues should. The editorial board should also mention the journal on their websites.
  3. Clear on charges for publishing – The journal site should explain what the fee charged are intended for and when they will be charged.
  4. The journal is clear on the type of peer review it uses. i.e. Single-blind, double-blind, open review and post-publication review.
  5. It has aims, scope, and instructions for authors - these can be used by the authors in choosing the journal thus saving time.
  6. The publisher can easily be identified and contacted – The publisher name is clearly displayed on the journal website and all the contacts placed working and are easily available

Choosing a Journal

There are thousands of active research journals making journal selection intimidating to authors. Choosing the right one can involve the tedious process of researching the scope of the journals you are interested in. Fortunately, the process has been made easier by online research tools listed below:

  1. Scimago Journal and Country Rank (SJR)– This provides a list of all journals rated based on SJR ranking, H index (scholar metrics) and publication made in preceding years.
  2. Journal Suggester - This online tool is provided by Springer nature where an author can insert manuscript title, text or subject area. The author can still refine recommendations by inserting minimum impact factor, acceptance rate, minimum time to first decision, open access journal or subscription journals for journal suggestions.
  3. Journal FinderProvided by Elsevier. This provides search text-boxes for filling paper title and paper abstract where the inserted texts are used to provide possible journals that are relevant to the search terms. It also provides filtering tools for specificity i.e. Fields of research and for selecting open access journals only.
  4. Think.Check.Submit – This helps researchers identify trusted journals for their research and can also help you avoid predatory publishers.
  5. FindMyJournal – Automates the selection for you. It has over 29,000 journals included in its database. These SCI-Indexed journals fall in the medical, biological, and physical science categories, casing more than 4,000 research areas. Additionally, it includes journals published by Elsevier, Springer, Wiley, and Sage as well as journals indexed in Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science. Following a brief search, a list of best-matched journals will come up and a table of features for each of the journals will be generated. This will help you decide which journal to submit to first so that your wait during peer review is worthwhile.
  6. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – This can help you find legitimate journals. It is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. 
  7. Scopus – It is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature such as scientific journals, books, and conference proceedings. It provides a comprehensive overview of the world’s research output in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Scopus has indexed journals from more than 5,000 publishers.
  8. Edanz Journal Selector – This searches online for over 28,650 journals and 12,010,643 abstracts to find the journal that is right for you. It also collects data on impact factors from the publicly available information and is updated regularly.

Other tools available online are:

 Predatory Publisher

In academic publishing, predatory open access publishing is an exploitative open-access publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals. This is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.

Characteristics of Predatory Publisher

  1. They don’t care about the quality of the work published - no or little editing or peer-review
  2. Their primary goal is to make money - Charging fees for a publication
  3. They make false claims or promises – false claims of impact factors and indexing.
  4. They fail to follow accepted standards or best practices of scholarly publishing
  5. They engage in unethical business practices - not as advertised.

The harm caused by Predatory publisher

  1. Your work may be subject to poor peer-review – publishing with them doesn’t guarantee that your paper will undergo peer review.
  2. Your work could disappear – Opportunistic publisher looking to make quick money is not going to care if your paper is still available in 5 years, much less tomorrow. This will affect an author seeking promotion in future
  3. Your work will be hard to find - Some predatory publishers advertise that they are included in well-known databases like Web of Science or Scopus when they are not. While most predatory journals will probably be covered by Google Scholar your work won't be as visible if it's missing from other research databases.