Scholarly Publishing

Tips for how to choose a journal to publish in, open access journals, pitfalls to avoid

Which journal?

When deciding which journal to submit your article to, there are a number of factors that may be considered:

  • Quality - What is the impact factor of the journal? What is the journal's ranking? Is the journal peer reviewed?
  • Relevance - Does your research paper match the scope of this publication? Is the journal read by your target audience?
  • Discoverability - Where is the journal indexed? How easy is it for others to locate articles in the journal?
  • Accessibility/Open Access -"Gold OA" means a fee is charged to publish in the journal or, in the case of learned bodies, the journal is freely available. What costs to publish? How widely read is this journal?

The Think Check Submit campaign, endorsed by the Australian Publishers Association, brings together peak standards bodies and publishers. It provides a checklist researchers may use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Journal quality

Is the journal well regarded in that field of research?

Use the following resources to compare and measure journal rankings:

Elsevier's Journal Insights pages provide useful metric information. CiteScore allows you to search Elsevier Journal titles for their overall SNIP & SJR

Content-Scopus provides information on what publications are indexed in Scopus.

Google Scholar Metrics may also provide you with some useful information.

Take a look at the Find journal rankings page of our Finding yourself: Research Metrics guide for related information.

Is the journal peer-reviewed?

Check the journal's webpage or the Ulrichsweb database.

While a journal may be displayed as peer-reviewed, it does not evaluate quality. Use Ulrichsweb in conjunction with the other checks for quality e.g. a journals quartile or where a journal is indexed.

Check the Journals website for information such as:

  • Editorial board
  • acceptance and rejection rates for articles
  • Peer review process

Is it listed within a discipline based list?

For example:

Journal relevance

Does your research paper match the scope of this publication? Is the journal read by your target audience?

Check the information for authors on the journal's website. Look through previous issues of the journal to see the types of articles published.

Is it on the list of ERA journals?

John Lamp's ERA Journal List provides quick access to the ERA journal outlet lists by FoR (Field of Research) code; journal name; ISSN; and ERAID. Use this site to find journals within your FoR and related FoRs.

Journal discoverability

Is it indexed in major databases?

Search for the journal title in:

  • Ulrichsweb
  • Scopus
  • other databases in your field to make sure that the journal is indexed widely.

Check Google Scholar - try the advanced search box and search for 'articles published in'.

Journal accessibility

Does the publisher have any policies on Open Access / self-archiving?

Does the publisher allow a version of your article to be made Open Access? This could mean more citations for your paper. Check our Open Access LibGuide for further details.

The Australian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) webpage provides information about open access in Australia. A series of webinars published by AOASG is available on YouTube.

Questions to consider:

What is the timeframe from submission to publication?

Got a title for your paper but no journal?

Predatory publishing

The rise of scholarly, open access publishing has lead to researchers being inundated with requests from predatory publishers. While scholarly, open access, online journals provide an alternative to traditional journals, you need to check whether they are reviewed and make a judgement of their quality.

Predatory publishers take advantage of the Gold Open Access (OA) publishing model, where an author pays to have an article openly available on the web. Their websites mimic legitimate journal or publisher websites.

Interested in finding out more?

How to Spot a Predatory Publisher by Cambridge University Library

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) has published the 3rd edition of Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. It provides 16 points of what they look for when assessing the quality of a publication.

Tips for using Scopus

Search Scopus using keywords to locate highly cited papers with in your topic area. On the Documents search results page use the Sort on: Cited by function to see who has cited that paper and what journals they were published in.

Cited By link in Scopus

More details on SciVal

SciVal uses data from Scopus, it's a research evaluation tool for academia, business and government. It may be used to find potential collaboration partners; evaluating research impact; and bench-marking for researchers. For more details see the publisher's YouTube video below.

Search SCImago to find journal quartile ranking

Enter Journal title, ISSN or Publisher Name in the Scimago search box to find out the quartile catergory.

SCImago record for Nature journal

Select Journals Rankings to search for a subject area/category to see where a title sits with in the quartile measures for that area.

SCImago record showing quartile rankings for Journal of Supply Chain Management

Tips and hints

  • publications indexed in citation databases such as Scopus, are more easily measured for research impact

  • open access can increase your citation count - investigate the options available

  • generally takes several attempts to have a paper accepted for publication in a high ranking journal

  • consider publishing in lower tiered peer reviewed journals to build up a body of work and esteem

  • ask your supervisor and colleagues for suggestions and advice

  • look at where the authors you are reading are publishing

General resource list:

SCImago Journal Rankings

ABDC Journal Quality List (Australian Business Deans Council)

John Lamp's ERA Journal List covers 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015

Google Scholar

Research Impact LibGuide CQUniversity

Open Access for Researchers LibGuide CQUniversity