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Choosing the Right Journal - When to Choose Your Journal

In today’s installment of our blog series on choosing the right journal, we will explore when to choose your journal. Every week we will discuss a different aspect of selecting the best journal for your manuscript.


It is currently estimated that there are over 40,000 journals across publishers and disciplines to choose from. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists almost 10,000 Open Access journals alone. For those of you interested in journals indexed by Science Citation Index Expanded, you have over 8600 journals to choose from. Although there are several free online tools that you can use to help narrow down which journals may be suitable for your current manuscript, you still need to carefully evaluate each journal to choose the most suitable journal. Remember, you can only submit to one journal at a time—so make sure it is the best one!


When to choose your journal

Once you have evaluated your findings as described above, you should then choose your journal. That’s right—choose your journal before you write your manuscript!

There are a number of important reasons to do this:

  1. Each journal has specific formatting requirements related to the manuscript structure, word limits, and reference style
  2. Each journal has a specific focus or scope that you need to be familiar with.
    2.1 General or interdisciplinary journal: should include more background information in your Introduction so the journal’s broad readership is familiar with the context of your study.
    2.2 Specialized journal
    : carefully read through the aims and scope of that journal and identify any specific topics or key phrases that the journal editor is emphasizing. You should also highlight these same topics and key phrases in your manuscript to emphasize the suitability of your manuscript for their journal.
  3. Journal editors will often look at your references to see if you have cited articles published in their journal. Therefore, after you have chosen a target journal, identify published articles in that journal that are similar to your manuscript and include these articles in your references. This shows the journal editor that your manuscript is building on research that they have already published, again helping to emphasize the suitability of your manuscript for their journal.