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Syracuse University Libraries

Identifying Journals for Publication

Process Overview

Here are a few steps you can take to identify potential journals for your forthcoming manuscript: 

  1. Articulate your publishing goals and any funder mandates you'll need to adhere to. 
  2. Create an initial list of potential journals by searching in databases for your research topic, using journal matching websites, and looking at journal rankings in your field of study. 
  3. Narrow your initial list of potential journals down to a handful (3 to 5) by looking at the journal's website for aims and scope, copyright and open access policies, acceptance rate, average number of days to first decision, etc. You may also check sources such as Ulrich's Web to see where a specific journal is indexed and review journal metrics and rankings. 
  4. Talk to co-authors and colleagues about your final list of journals, weigh the data you've collected, and make a decision about where you'd like to submit. If the first journal doesn't work out, try one of the others you've identified. 

Articulating Publishing Goals

Before starting the process of identifying potential journals, be sure to articulate your publishing goals and any funder mandates that you need to adhere to. The following questions can help guide you: 

  • What audience are you trying to reach with your publication? (Are you targeting authors in a small or niche field of research? Are you targeting a wider, more interdisciplinary audience?)
  • Is your manuscript a review article, original research, theoretical, or applied?
  • Do you need to publish in a "gateway" or highly ranked journal in your field for career advancement purposes? 
  • Are you hoping to reach a wide audience with your journal and thinking about open access publishing? 
  • Do you have any funding associated with the forthcoming publication where you'll need to consider funder mandates such as public access requirements? 
  • Do you plan to post your pre-print, share your data, or your post-print? (If answering yes to these, you'll need to carefully check the journal and publisher copyright, open access, and author re-use policies.) 
  • Do you have a timeline for when you'd like to publish your research?