How to identify the best journal in which to publish an article

Subject:  Multidisciplinary
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A guide with tips and practical tools to help you understand the academic publishing process and avoid the dreaded predatory journals.

Choosing a journal in which to publish an article can be an onerous task. That’s why the Library for Research team has written an online learning resource (available in English) that covers the essential issues you need to consider when looking for trusted journals: the subject area and scope, the truthfulness, the members of the editorial committee, the impact factor and other criteria for gauging their academic influence, and open access publishing.

Identify the journal

The Library resource features online tools that will help you find journals by title, abstract, keyword and academic discipline. It also explains how the search engines of the bibliographic databases the Library subscribes to can be used to retrieve journals that usually publish articles in your area of research.

What aspects should you bear in mind?

  • We recommend you choose journals with aims, subject areas and scope that match your research and, if possible, that have previously published an article in your field of study. This will confirm from the outset that the subject might be of interest to the journal’s readership.

  • Another key aspect are the impact indexes. Specifically, the fact of publishing in journals with an impact factor (IF) can raise the profile of your research and is useful when taking part in quality agency accreditation processes or calls for funding for research projects. The guide will show you how the IF is calculated and how to run searches for scientific journals by title or subject area, using the Journal Citation Report (JCR) and the SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR). However, besides the leading assessment indexes, we also suggest other national and international indexes that measure the impact and quality of scientific journals.

  • Assess whether the journal publishes in open access, what licence it has and whether you need to pay for the article to be accessible to the whole of the readership. One of the most popular and reliable sources for looking for open access journals is the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals). Take a look at our guide and find out more about the benefits of the open access movement and the various strategies available.

Check whether is it to be trusted

We help you confirm whether a journal is trusted and avoid predatory journals, which invite authors to publish articles by email without undergoing any expert assessment process and in exchange for expensive fees.

If you receive a suspicious email, here are a few tips you should remember:

  • Check out the tone and type of information in the email before you submit your original.
  • Be aware that if the journal says it’s “open access”, it must simply and clearly state the financial model on its website.
  • Be very wary if they ask you to pay a fee to submit the article. Usually, you are only asked for payment at the time of publication.
  • Check the information about the editorial committee and look to see if it’s confusing or if the members are recognized.
  • Do not trust a journal if the same editor displays a long list of new journals simultaneously.
  • Be wary of the journal if you find any typos or a poorly designed website.

Learn how predatory journals work and discover tools to avoid them with the information we offer.

This online session organized by the Library, in conjunction with the ProQuest publisher, explains a number of aspects you need to consider when publishing an academic article. 

Online seminar by the UOC Library: Scholary Authoring Workshop


Submit the article

Another important step in the publishing process is finding out how the journal’s expert assessment process works, whether it costs anything to publish and the acceptance rates of the articles and average review time of the original.

The extensive information in the Library guide includes an information graphic with ten tips on writing an article and a graph showing the expert assessment process.

The guidelines and resources we provide may help you make the most of the time you spend choosing the journal in which you want to publish your research and increase your article’s chances of being accepted by the publisher.