Experiments and assays of your research lead to the establishment of a research paper but the validation of your research work comes only after your research paper is published in an appropriate esteemed journal. Besides validation, publications can extend a wider recognition, promotion, and help in gaining research funds. Unfortunately, publishing is generally easier said than done and several researchers face the issue of selecting proper journals for publishing their research. This brings us to the primary question: How to choose a journal for your research paper?
- List down your journals
Start by identifying 10 to 20 journals that are related to your research work and eagerly consider journals whose references you have mostly used in your manuscript. Also, if there are any specific journals that are associated with your professional organization, they are better suited for expedited publication.
If there is any problem with finding journals specific to your research domain, you can also take the help of some online web-based journal selector tools where you can input minimal information about your manuscript and the result is a list of related target journals with their information. Some free online tools are:
- Know the aims and scope
Misalignment with a journal’s aims and scope is one of the primary reasons that researchers face rejection for their manuscripts and thus knowing the scope of journals is very crucial. From the 10-20 journals that you had selected, the proper alignment of the scope will bring about 2-3 best choices. The scope of the journal can be found in ‘About the Journal’ or ‘About Us’ tabs in the online website of publication journals. Moreover, you can search on the journal website if any paper has been published that relates to the title and keywords of your manuscript. This will give clarity on the acceptance of your research topic by the journal audience. To have a better idea, go through some related papers published in the same journal to get an idea of the formats and styles that the journal editors prefer.
- Journal impact factor
Although not always deemed as the primary criteria for choosing a journal, journal impact factor does give an idea of the journal’s popularity and audience proportion, that can be correlated to the journal’s quality. Journal impact factor is based on how often the articles of that journal were cited by several other articles published in different journals during a particular year. There is always a rush among researchers to publish their papers in high impact factor journal and thus it automatically increases the chances of rejection and repeated rejections ultimately lead to the delay of publication and might make the research invalid for that point of time. Therefore, it might be more worthwhile to consider a lower impact factor journal, especially if the priority lies in reducing the chances of rejection. This impact factor choice should also be a balance and should not be given the least priority as a good impact factor helps in gaining good recognition.
- Ease of access
Information about distribution, open-access, and database indexing is crucial to deciding your journal as these factors can enhance the research visibility and reach to the community. For example, print journals will have a shorter reach than online journals and only online journals will have a shorter reach as compared to journals that have both online and print versions. On a similar note, open-access journals are freely available online and therefore increase the visibility of the published research paper besides being downloadable. But on a different note, not all open-access journals are good. One should always consider and check up the quality of open-access journals as predatory publishers are lurking among trusted ones. The Directory of Open Access Journals directory indexes and provides access to good quality, open-access, peer-reviewed journals which can be helpful for the researchers.
- Make pre-submission inquiries
If you have decided on your choice of the journal and are not quite sure of your manuscript getting a thorough review due to concerns, a simple mail to the editor-in-chief can actually resolve the issue. Pre-submission inquiries are welcomed by several journals to decide on whether the manuscript aligns with your interest. This can actually save many months of waiting and lead to a better decision of sending your manuscript to some other journal for publication. Always remember, you can only send your manuscript to one journal at-a-time and wait for either an acceptance or a rejection mail. That is how publication ethics work!