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Research: Which journal should I publish in?

Library support for postgraduate students and researchers

Contents page

How do we find high quality journal to publish in?

Step 1a:
Create a shortlist of potential journals - using your reference list & peers recommendations

Step 1b:
Create a shortlist of potential journals - using JOURNAL RANKING databases

Step 1c:
Create a shortlist of potential journals - using JOURNAL FINDER tools
Step 1d:
How do I Find/Identify an Open Access Title to Publish in?

Evaluating the journal
Step 2a:

Use the "Think, Check, Submit" Checklists to Evaluate the Journal's Credibility!
Step 2b:
Findability - where the journal is indexed?
Step 2c:

Explore the features of a possible journal
Step 2d:
Review the publishing agreement of the journal

What about ERA and ASPIRE?

Some interesting Reading ...

  • Learned Publishing (RSS)
  • Scholarly Kitchen (RSS)

How do we find high quality journals to publish in?

This page highlights the various resources available for authors wishing to find high quality journals to publish in - these resources include databases used by university ranking sites to find the citation rates of researchers in a specific university.

Step 1a: Create a shortlist of potential journals using your reference list & recommendations


  • Which journals have you personally found must useful when researching your topic?
  • Which journals have your colleagues,  supervisors or mentors recommended?
  • Recommendations from experts in the area are always very useful.
  • Which journals fits your topic? What sort of format, style and types of articles they are interested in?

Step 1b: Create a shortlist of potential journals - using JOURNAL RANKING databases

Journal Rankings are available mainly from the two following vendors:

  • Clarivate Analytics > tracks the Web of Science's database's citations to produce:
    • InCites
    • Journal Citation Reports
  • Elsevier > tracks the Scopus database's citations to produce:
    • Scimago 
    • Journal Metrics (CiteScore)
    • SciVal
    • Scopus Compare Journals







Other Databases which may assist in finding high ranking journals in your subject/topic area

  • ERA Journal List (Restricted to ECU staff and Research Students) shows journals included in the ERA 2018 journal list
    • login into the ECU staff/student portal
    • click into Research Activity System (RAS)
    • click on ERA Journal Lookup (the "torch light icon")
    • click FoR Code (2 digit and 4 digit) to find journals in a particular subject area
  • ABDC Journal Quality List 2016 list of business journals put together by the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC).
  • does not provide journal rankings but it provides information on over 300,000 international journals and magazines: is it peer-reviewed, open access, magazine, trade or professional magazine, newsletter. It provides a raft of information about the journal publisher, price, where the publication is indexed, print or online, etc.

Step 1c: Create a shortlist of potential journals - using JOURNAL FINDER tools

If you would like to type in your topic and receive recommendations on which journals are more likely to publish articles such as yours, check out some of the following journal finder tools website.

The search boxes in these journal finder tools use your potential article's title, abstract/keywords &/or reference list to find relevant journal titles.


  • EndNote’s Manuscript Matcher  uses the database created by EndNote Web users 
    • register through Web of Science OR EndNote (register/login required to use this service)
    • in EndNote Web, click on the tab "Match"
    • enter your article title, abstract, references (optional)
    • will provide you with a list of recommended journal titles + their impact factor of journal + related articles
  • JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator) uses Medline as its source database
  • Elsevier Journal Finder (publisher) helps you find a relevant Elsevier journal
  • EDANZ Journal selector - searches over 28,000 journals and includes
  • Springer Journal Selector (publisher) -helps you find a relevant Springer journal
  • Wiley Journal Finder - (publisher) helps author to find journals best matched article's subject


Step 1d: How do I Find/Identify an Open Access Title to Publish in?

To publish in a journal indexed by Scopus:

Check Scimago:
- select your discipline
- tick to select Display only Open Access Journals
- sort by SJR

or Check: Journal Metrics (Elsevier)
- click on the button to add more filters
- click on Display only Open Access Titles
- sort this time by CiteScore - this will re-rank the journals from SJR to CiteScore


To publish in a journal published by the Web of Science:

Check InCites: Journal Citation Reports
- select your discipline
- tick to select display only Open Access Journal

Check the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

- search by discipline
- click on Journals
- journal titles will display
- use the side panel to refine your list further

Free to Read Journals

These journal are difficult to identify as they are not "captured" by DOAJ - check the journal's home page and About pages.


Step 2a: Use the "Think, Check, Submit" Checklists to Evaluate the Journal's Credibility!

View and Use the Think Check Submit Checklists!


Retraction Watch: About 500-600 papers are retracted each year!
Retraction Watch highlights many of the retracted articles and the reasons why papers are retracted are wide and varied!

Step 2b: Findability - where the journal is indexed?

Does the journal tell you where their contents are indexed?

The presence of the journal in key databases provides some indication as to the quality of the journal:

  • Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory: Ulrichsweb indexes over 300,000 international periodicals. Search by journal title or journals by topic, limit resulty by a range of filters e.g. peer-reviewed, open access etc.  It will also provide publisher information and where the journal has been indexed.
  • Scimago Journal Rankings list journals indexed by Scopus database
  • Master Journal List (Thomson Reuters): a searchable database of all journal titles indexed by the Web of Science (Thomson Reuters)
  • Journal Quality List: compiled by Professor Anne-Wil Harzing from the University of Melbourne, this quality list includes journals from the fields of economics, accounting, finance, management and marketing.
  • Check the key Subject databases in your discipline:
    ECU Library LibGuides lists relevant discipline specific subject databases which will indicate journal title included within it's coverage.

Step 2c: Explore the features of a possible journal

  • Aims and scope  - does your article fit within the topical coverage and mission of the journal?
  • Intended audience of the publication
    • Ulrichsweb is a useful database as it can help you assess the target audience of the publication: Is it scholarly, a trade publications, newsletter, website?
      • Peer review - is the journal peer reviewed? Is this blind or double blind?
  • DOI - does the journal assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to the articles they publish?
    • A DOI is the unique ID permanently associated with a particular article and provides a stable and unambiguous link to it therefore improve the discoverability of an item
    • DOIs also helps facilitate linkages between an article and an author's own identifiers, such as a Thomson Reuters Researcher ID or ORCID
    • DOIs can also be tracked by altmetrics tools and can be used to demonstrate the social media buzz surrounding a specific DOI e.g. number mentions in twitter, blogs, facebook etc. and the number of bookmarks to the article on Mendeley and CiteULike.
  • Open access publication - is the journal open access? Do you want your research to be freely available worldwide and accessible to the broadest spectrum of readers possible? What open access options does the journal offer? eg Gold Open Access where the author pays up-front an article processing fee for their article to be published or Green Open Access when the author is allowed to publish a version of the article in their website or institutional repository (remember to keep that copy for Research Online!)
  • Open access dataset - does the journal require you to make your research dataset available on Open Access? Journals such as Nature, PLOS etc. now require authors to provide public access to the dataset that their paper is based on. When possible, Scopus is now linking to an article's Scopus record to it's related open access dataset.
    If you wish to make your dataset open or available for re-use, check out Research Online - we can provide your dataset with a DOI (refer to your dataset in your paper's reference list) and arrange for it to appear on Research Data Australia.
  • Number of articles/issues published annually - the frequency of issues and the number of articles published annually may affect rejection rates, influence turnaround times for processing articles and impact on the time taken for articles to get published.
  • Rejection rates - what percentage of article submissions are rejected? A high rejection rate may suggest a journal is of high quality but it may also reduce the likelihood of the article getting published in that journal.
  • Turnaround time/backlog - how much time will it take for a submitted article to get accepted and published?

Step 2d: Review the publishing agreement of the journal

Once you have selected a journal, you will then submit your article, which then may ultimately be accepted for publication by the journal. If you are publishing commercially you will then be asked to sign a publishing agreement. It is important that you:

  • Read the publishing agreement carefully before signing.
  • Remember that author's have rights and can ask for changes to the agreement.
  • Be aware of third party copyright. Permissions will need to be sought before you include copyrighted material, including images, figures and tables produced by others.
  • Think about open access (OA) as an alternative to commercial publishing.
  • Remember to keep the accepted (post-print) version of your paper for later inclusion in ECU's institutional repository Research Online. The accepted (post-print) version of your article manuscript is the version after the paper has been peer reviewed (typically the final Word document version).

PATENT ALERT: Remember that once your work is published, it is in the public domain. For commercially relevant work this may mean that it is no longer patentable. You should check if any valuable intellectual property in your work could be compromised by being published. For further assistance:

FUNDER ALERT: If your publication is an outcome of a project funded by the ARC or NHMRC, it may be need to comply with their Open Access Policies. For each policy, a publication must be made openly accessible within 12 months of it's publication date. If a publication cannot be made openly accessible, a reason must be provided to the funding agency.

Understanding journal performance indicators

What about ERA and ASPIRE?

When selecting a journal in which to publish, it is important to bear in mind that this choice will determine whether your article will be eligible to be counted as part of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation. It may also determine whether the article will be eligible for quality measures under ASPIRE, ECU's research performance scheme, which uses Field Weighted Citation Impact data to inform the ASPIRE allocations.


Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is the research quality evaluation initiative of the Australian Government, administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC). ERA identifies and promotes excellence across the full spectrum of research activity in Australia's higher education insitutions.


Acknowledging Successful Performance in Research Excellence (ASPIRE) is ECU's system for "...measuring and quantifying research performance which rewards researchers for research activity and quality." ASPIRE provides guidance to researchers as to what the university values in relation to research performance. For more information on ASPIRE refer to ECU's Research Performance page.

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