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Where Should I Publish My Research?

This guide provides questions and criteria you can use to evaluate and identify appropriate and trusted journals in which to publish your research and scholarship.

Make Informed Decisions on Where to Publish Your Research

Determining where to send your manuscript requires a bit of research of its own.  Finding the right fit means identifying journals that include articles on your particular topic and with your approach to that topic. 

1. Start with your own research. 

Consider journals that you've already used as sources in your literature review or bibliography.  Next, consider journals that are cited in the reference lists and bibliographies of these scholarly articles or reports.  Are there journal titles that keep showing up?  These sources may already have a related focus with your topic area.

2. When available, consult journal and publishing guides for your discipline. 

There are guides and directories (see link at left) on publishing in specific disciplines, but unfortunately they are not available for all disciplines and, sometimes they're not updated frequently.  When available, these resources assist researchers by providing the publishing information of individual academic journals. Individual journal websites also provide some of this information.  Cabell's directories include information about the subject areas emphasized by each journal, type of review process, acceptance rate, number of reviewers, time required for review, and availability of reviewer comments. Some specific manuscript submission guidelines are also provided.

Some directories that provide basic publication information about journals include UlrichsWeb: Global Serials Directory and Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media.

3. Search for articles in relevant subject databases in your field.  For this step, step away from Google Scholar!

Most subject disciplines have one or more subject-specific databases that index journal articles in your subject area.  Unlike searching Google Scholar which may provide an interdisciplinary look, by searching your topic in a relevant subject database you get a focused look at the literature in a field and can see which journals show up most often in your results.  Make an appointment with your subject liaison for guidance, suggestions and assistance.

4.  Consult with colleagues, mentors, research partners and peers.

Even though you still have to research individual journals, professional colleagues and mentors may be able to provide insight, clues and suggestions about the process as well as specific journal titles.  Where are they publishing their research?

5.  Consider contacting journal editors

Some journals favor queries while others prefer you send the complete manuscript instead.  Journal policy may  be discussed on their webpage.  After you've identified a few appropriate journals, you might consider contacting the editors about the likelihood of including an article on your particular topic idea.  A query should be short in nature, generally sent via email, and clearly express what the paper is discussing. Their responses may help you focus your attention on one or two key journals. 

"A query must have a good subject line, a few sentences about your topic and its significance to your field, and your contact information. Use a subject line that will capture the reader’s attention, and keep the body of your message short and compelling."  From Publish, Not Perish


Adapted from the following resources:

When checking the legitimacy of a journal, you should visit its website, research scholars who have published with that journal, research the publisher itself, and most importantly, talk to colleagues. 


1. Do you or your colleagues know the journal? 

Have you read articles in that journal before?

2. Can you easily identify and contact the publisher? 

Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the website and do they provide complete contact information: email, street address, working phone number?

3. Does the journal have an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

The ISSN is a unique eight digit number that identifies each journal title.  In many countries, an ISSN is mandatory for all publications subject to the legal deposit.  Check the ISSN portal to verify if the number is legitimate:

4. Does the website list any fees which authors may be charged for publishing their article?

Does the journal site explain what these fees are for and when they will be

5. Is the journal a member of an industry initiative or trade association?

Do they belong to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)? - 7,000 members

If it's published by a professional society, do they belong to ALPSP (Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers)? - 10,000 members

For example: The  International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) provides Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.

Also consider these if it's an Open Acess Journal:

Is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?

The DOAJ vets journals before listing them. However, there is a significant backlog of journals waiting to be listed, and not all legitimate open access journals are listed in the directory.  There are currently more than 11,000 journals listed.

Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)

Many of the largest open access publishers are members of the OASPA, though there are legitimate open access publishers that do not belong.

The more ties to well-known organizations and the more a journal follows best practices, the more likely it is to be a legitimate operation.


Adapted from Think, Check, Submit


1. Articles are indexed in subject-related research databases and/or services.

2. The journal is clear about the type of peer review it uses.

3. The Editor/Editorial board are recognized experts in the field.

They mention the journal on their own websites.

4. The scope of the journal is well-defined and clearly stated.

Consequently, articles are within the scope and meet the standards of the discipline.

5. Journal is registered in Ulrich'sWeb: Global Serials Directory

The journal record provides lots of info including whether it is refereed (peer-reviewed) as well as a link to the journal website.

6. Articles have DOIs (Digital Object identifiers)

7. And for Open Access journals, the journal clearly indicates rights for use and re-use of articles at the article level (for instance, Creative Commons license)



Adapted from Grand Valley State University's and  Boston College's OA Journals Quality Indicators libguides, and Think, Check, Submit


1.  Journal website is difficult to locate or identify

2.  Publisher "About" information is absent on the journal's website

3.  A single editor is listed and editorial board information is absent

4.  Publisher uses direct marketing (spamming) or other obtrusive advertising

5.  Instructions for authors are not available

6.  Information on peer review and copyright is absent or unclear on the journal website

7.  Journal scope statement is absent or extremely vague

8.  No information is provided about the publisher, or the information provided does not clearly indicate a relationship to a mission to disseminate research content

9.  Repeat lead authors appear in the same issue

10. Publisher has a negative reputation

See documented evidence in The Chronicle of Higher Education and other reputable publications, list-servs, etc.


Adapted from Grand Valley State University's and  Boston College's OA Journals Quality Indicators libguides, and Think, Check, Submit

Journal rankings are used in some disciplines, particularly the sciences and social sciences, to identify an academic journal's impact and quality.  They're intended to reflect the importance of a journal within its field which often correlates with the difficulty of being published in that journal, and the prestige associated with it.

View these short videos on Journal Citation Reports from Web of Science training on YouTube





You are confident that your chosen journal will have a suitable profile among your peers to enhance your reputation and your chance of gaining citations.


♦ Publishing in this journal is appropriate for your research and will raise your professional profile, and help you progress in your career.


♦ Your paper will be indexed or archived and be easily discoverable.


♦ You can expect a professional publishing experience where your work is reviewed and edited.


If you agree, only then should you submit your article.


Adapted from

This worksheet from the Where Should I Publish workshop includes checklists for two scenarios: 


Scenario 1:  I have the name of a journal and I need to know more about it


Scenario 2:  I'm looking for an appropriate journal to publish my manuscript.  How do I find one?

Reuse Information

Stephanie Brenenson, Retired, FIU Libraries

This LibGuide is provided with an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license. If you would like to reuse any part of this LibGuide for noncommercial educational or instructional purposes, please contact Elana Karshmer and include a link to this guide.