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Choosing a journal

Choosing the right journal to publish in is an important part of effective academic publishing.  Writing with a specific journal in mind could increase the likelihood that your article is accepted for publication.  When choosing a journal you should assess both its appropriateness and credibility.

Scopus and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) can help you to identify key journals in your field and major publishers such as Taylor & Francis, Elsevier, and Springer offer their own journal finder tools.  Your academic colleagues and professional contacts may also be able to recommend appropriate journals.  Browse the contents of recent issues to get a sense of the type of research that is published in that journal and whether your article would be a good fit.  Also consider whether the target audience of the journal matches the audience that you want to reach.

Once you have identified a potential journal, check that it is is peer-reviewed and that the editors are credible experts in their field.  Journal metrics can help to inform your choice too, although a journal should not be selected based on metrics alone.  Information about journal rankings and metrics can be found on Scopus.  The Think. Check. Submit. site provides more guidance on evaluating journals.

Before choosing a journal, you should also check its open access policy and ensure that this policy will allow you to comply with any funder requirements to publish your article open access.  The details of journals' open access policies can be found on the Sherpa Romeo site.

Avoiding predatory journals

Predatory publishers exploit the open access model by charging a fee for publication without following best practices in academic publishing.  They fail to offer the author services that would usually be expected such as editing and peer review and allow poor quality research to be published.  

The following can be warning signs that a journal is predatory:

  • It doesn't appear in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • It is not indexed in the typical indexes for the subject area
  • Articles in previous issues are of poor quality and/or contain spelling and grammatical errors
  • Issues contain articles on topics unrelated to the stated subject area of the journal 
  • It is unclear who the members of the editorial board are 
  • There is a lack of transparency about fees, copyright, or the peer review process

Submitting an article for publication

Before submitting an article for publication you should prepare it as thoroughly as possible.  Check that the article is accurately referenced and has been proofread.  Most journals will provide detailed instructions for authors that cover things like word length, layout of tables and figures, and referencing style.  Read and follow those instructions carefully.

Some journals may ask you to enter an ORCID iD when submitting an article.  This is a unique identifier that ensures that your work is correctly attributed to you.  Your ORCID iD stays with you throughout your career and remains the same if you change your name or move to another institution.  All Leeds Trinity University researchers are encouraged to obtain an ORCID iD.  You can self-register for free on the ORCID website.

Peer review

Peer review is a method of quality control for published research and is often considered to be the gold standard in academic publishing.  It is most often associated with journals, but may also be applied to other types of publications.  Peer reviewers are researchers or practitioners with detailed knowledge of the subject area.  They critique the submitted manuscript, identify any flaws with the methodology, suggest edits, and ultimately recommend whether the research is suitable for publication.

Before your manuscript is accepted, it is likely that you will need to respond to comments from the reviewers.  When doing this, ensure that you have addressed all of the reviewers' comments.  Where you agree with the feedback, acknowledge this and make the necessary edits.  Make it easy for reviewers to see the changes you have made e.g. by using different coloured font.  It's ok to disagree with a comment, as long as you clearly explain why.  It may be helpful to provide some supplementary evidence, such as figures or tables, to support your argument.


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