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Journal Publication Outlets

Guidance on selecting the best journal to publish your research.

Did You Know?

Funding is available to UNC faculty to support publication fees like those associated with open access, article processing, color printing, and more. Visit the Fund for Faculty Publications page on the ORSP website for more information on applying.

Image by Devi J from Pixabay

Getting Started Evaluating Journals

Beginning to understand your own values and the ways in which journal criteria are generally described and measured will help you become a proficient journal evaluator. A useful tool to assist you with this process is the journal checklist at Think.Check.Submit.

Think.Check.Submit logo

Think.Check.Submit is a campaign that helps researchers identify trusted journals. It is an international initiative representing organizations that are working toward transparent and ethical publishing practices. Additional information and evaluation guidance can be found on the websites of these organizations:

Selecting a Journal for your Manuscript

What do you look for in a journal? Scholars have different criteria depending on their research project, stage of career, values, and goals. The most common journal attributes tend to fall into the following broader categories:

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  1. Likelihood of Manuscript Acceptance
  2. Journal Reputation
  3. Journal Visibility & Potential Article Impact
  4. Likelihood of Timely Publication
  5. Philosophical & Ethical Issues

The following pages describe tools and strategies used to evaluate and select journal outlets.

Common Factors Scholars Consider

Here is a list of some of commonly reported attributes that scholars look for. The numbers indicate which categories they map to.

  • Abstracting and indexing (2, 3)
  • Acceptance rate (1, 2, 3)
  • Age of journal (2)
  • Audience size (2, 3)
  • Author charges (5)
  • Author contributions from different countries (3, 5)
  • Author’s rights / copyright (5)
  • Availability of persistent identifier (e.g., DOI) (3)
  • Citation half-life (2)
  • Colleague / mentor advice (1)
  • College/department list (3)
  • Cost of journal (5)
  • Discipline list (3)
  • Editor / editorial board reputation (2, 3)
  • Electronic publication before print (4)
  • Impact factor (2)
  • Issues per year (4)
  • Journal aim and scope (1, 3)
  • Journal author-institution bias (1, 5)
  • Journal cited in manuscript (1)
  • Journal ethics (2, 5)
  • Journal geographic bias (1, 5)
  • Journal methodology bias (1)
  • Journal policies (5)
  • Journal prestige (2)
  • Journal published articles on same topic (1)
  • Journal significance bias (1, 5)
  • Known authors (2)
  • Membership to society or organization that sponsors journal (5)
  • Online publication with tracking (3)
  • Open access (3, 5)
  • Peer review (2, 3)
  • Publisher prestige (2)
  • Society or organization sponsors journal (2, 5)
  • Time from submission to publication (1, 4)

Word cloud of attributes faculty look for when publishing a journal article, including: readership, impact factor, reputation, open, peer review, and discipline.

Click here for a downloadable PDF of these factors as a checklist.

Beware of Scams

decorative imagePhishing attempts and other email scams are not uncommon in both journal and conference publishing. These unsolicited email invitations often tempt scholars with quick acceptance, review, and publication. Fraud is committed when these outlets charge authors hidden fees, lock them into rigid agreements, and/or fail to deliver promised quality checks (e.g. peer review). Not all email invitations or publication fees are scams, however. Here are a few red flags to watch out for:

  • Spelling and/or grammatical errors
  • Journal titles that are especially broad or interdisciplinary
  • Journal titles that mimic those of well-known, established journals
  • Broken links
  • Advertising fast or easy publication

Be sure to learn more on the Ethical Issues tab of this guide.

Note: Jeffrey Beall's list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory publishers” ("Beall's List") is no longer maintained and should not be relied upon to identify fraudulent publishers. Furthermore, it is difficult for any such watch list to keep up with the constant influx of new publishers and publications. It is best practice to research and evaluate each journal title you are considering for publication of your work.

Image Credits:

Hack image by DIDIER PETIT from Pixabay
Search image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay