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Publish: Journal evaluation

Journal evaluation

The Think. Check. Submit. website provides checklists to help researchers identify trusted journals to publish their research.


When considering which journal to submit your article to remember:

  • Which journals have your colleagues, supervisors, research group or mentors recommended you read?

  • Which journals do they publish in?


You can also use citation metrics to evaluate journals. More information available in the Journal metrics guide

Assess whether the features of the journal match your intentions for your article

Information about the features below can usually be sourced on the journal's website.


Aims and scope

Does your article fit within the topical coverage and mission of the journal?


Is the journal peer-reviewed?

The peer-review process is generally seen as a quality control mechanism in the scholarly publishing field. There are different levels of peer review, with double-blind peer review by multiple reviewers considered ideal. In this case the reviewers and authors are unaware of each other's identities, ensuring minimal chance of bias. Increasingly journals are opting to use open peer review, there are some variations in how this operates with the authors and peer-reviewers identities becoming known either before or after the review is undertaken. Open peer-review aims to open up discourse and communication around publications. Some databases refer to journals that use a peer review process as refereed.

In addition to the peer review information provided by the journal you may be able to use databases to verify the peer review status of the journal.

  • Check the major databases in your subject area - is the journal title indexed by your subject database? Does the database include information on whether the title is peer-reviewed?
  • Ulrichsweb includes peer review / refereed status and also information on the target audiences of the publication: Is it scholarly, a trade publication, newsletter, or a website?
  • Publons Journals and conferences list allows you to search and view journal information based on their policies, journals with a blue tick have been vetted by the Publons team.



Who would you like to read your research? Is it targeted at your peers in the research community, or at a broader practitioner or public audience?


Is the journal indexed in key databases for the discipline?

Whether a journal is included in the important databases for your field of research is another important factor when selecting journals to publish in because it can provide an indication of the esteem the journal is held in and also affects how others will find your publications.

If a journal's website claims that it is being indexed by databases and you are unable to verify this on the databases directly, it may be an indication that the journal is not reputable.


Does the journal assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to articles?

  • A DOI is a unique ID permanently associated with a particular article. It provides a stable and unambiguous link to the article, improving the ongoing discoverability of the item
  • It facilitates linkages between an article and an author's own identifiers, such as a Researcher ID or ORCID
  • It facilitates tracking by alternative metrics tools such as altmetrics and PlumX  Alternative metrics use DOIs to measure impact by recording mentions in social media, references to the publication in the news, Wikipedia pages, Mendeley, CiteULike etc.

Open Access options

Would you like your research findings to be freely available worldwide and accessible to the broadest spectrum of readers possible? Investigate the Open Access options provided by prospective journals.

  • Gold Open Access - the author pays an up-front article processing fee for their article to be made open access
  • Green Open Access - the author is allowed to publish a version of the article on their website or in an institutional repository such as Research Online, sometimes after an embargo period. Publishers generally allow authors to provide the Author's Accepted Manuscript (the version that has been peer-reviewed, but doesn't include any of the publisher's formatting) to their institutional repository for Open Access.

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 be published.

Rejection rates 

What percentage of article submissions are rejected? A high rejection rate may suggest a journal is of high quality but reduces the likelihood of a submitted article being published in that journal.

Turnaround time

How much time does it usually take for a submitted article to be accepted and published?

It's not usually acceptable to submit an article to more than one journal at a time so the turnaround time will impact upon the time it will take to make your findings available. But keep in mind quality journals require time for peer reviewers to read and respond to the article.


Open Access research datasets

Does the journal require you to make your research dateset openly available? Journals such as Nature, PLOS etc. require authors to provide public access to the dateset that their paper is based on. Where possible, Scopus links an article's Scopus record to it's related open access dateset.

Your datasets can be made available for re-use on Research Online, ECU's Institutional Repository. Your dataset is provided with a DOI it will also be listed on Research Data Australia.


Journal finder tools use the potential article's keywords or abstract to identify a list of journal titles that cover matching topics, aims and scope.

Some of the tools also provide a range of journal metrics allowing authors to identify highly ranked journals. Scopus or Journal Citation Reports can also be used to identify high ranking journals.

You will generally be asked to sign a publishing agreement once your article is accepted for publication. Things to look out for in the agreement: 

  • What are your author's rights - would you like to ask for changes to the agreement?
  • Does you paper include third party copyright? Permissions will need to be sought before you include copyrighted material produced by others (e.g. images, figures and tables).
  • What Open Access (OA) options does the publisher offer - gold and/or green OA?


Would you like to modify the author publisher agreement?

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement, allowing authors to keep key rights to their articles. The Author Addendum is a free resource developed by SPARC in partnership with Creative Commons.



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:



If your publication is an outcome of a project funded by the ARC or NHMRC, it may be affected by the funder's Open Access Policies requiring outputs to be openly accessible within 12 months of publication. If a publication cannot be made openly accessible, a reason must be provided to the funding agency.

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