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The thorny issue of journal selection: Aim high, but choose appropriately

 

One of the trickest issues in academic publishing is selecting a suitable journal for your research. Sadly, in my experience, this step is all too often left until the very end of the process: the work is done, field data collected (perhaps), experiments conducted (perhaps), analysis performed and the research is all written up for publication. Where to send the paper? A new survey, just published, that was performed by the Think. Check. Submit. initiative has revealed a deep level of demand from both academics and librarians for guidance about where to publish research. The survey results also reveal a strong demand and need for additional educational resources.

 

A number of tools are available that aid with journal selection, but these are often specific to particular companies. A given publisher, for example, will have a tool on their website that allows you, the author, to select a target journal from across their family of publications. What about all the other possible journals available? What’s the most important issue to you as an author? Impact Factor? Open Access? No publication fee?

 

An attractive feature of Charlesworth Author Services is that we are agnostic as an author services provider: We are not tied to any particular model. Our goal is to help authors achieve their potential irrespective of the final outlet chose for publication. It’s notable that 85% of authors who work with us end up getting their work published in their first choice journal while 90% are satisfied with the service we provide.

 

Here’s a useful tip for selecting a target journal for your research: Do it before you start to write the paper. Most journals have different target audiences and therefore different style guidelines; papers need to be written in specific ways, depending on audience, the people who will end up reading your work. Articles for local, or subject-specific journals will be quite different from articles intended for Nature of Science. Most of the academics I know never start to write their scientific papers until they have decided on a target journal, appropriate for the research just completed.

 

With this in mind then, another useful trick I picked up when I was a PhD student is to create a list of 10 journals in your field within which articles relevant to your particular subject have recently appeared. Rank these from top-to-bottom in terms of impact factor and then use this list to inform your decisions about where to submit your next completed work. One of the most important considerations for almost all active researchers is Impact: aim to maximise both the impact of your research publications and therefore your own research as an academic. Aim to get your papers into the best journals possible, those with the highest impact factors and widest circulations.

 

We teach effective journal selection as part of our Charlesworth Knowledge courses, aimed at helping you achieve your potential as a researcher.  We also provide an independent journal selection service, working with subject experts to identify the best journal for your research.

 

Useful initiatives like Think. Check. Submit. can help you build your list of trusted journals for your research and avoid unnecessary fees, predatory outlets, and other kinds of deceptive publishing.