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Scholarly Publishing @Downstate: Finding a Journal to Publish Your Work

Finding the right journal to submit your work

MEDLINE currently indexes over 5600 journals in medicine and the life sciences. The Web of Science master journal list indexes over 24,000 journals covering 254 subject disciplines. With so many potential outlets for your work, it can be a daunting task finding a journal that is the right fit. 

There are a few steps you can take at the beginning to help you narrow your focus and get you started on a short list of potential journals.

  • You should already be familiar with the most influential journals in your field. Take a look at their scope statements and types of research published.
  • Ask your colleagues and supervisors. They may have a greater awareness of the spectrum of relevant publications.
  • Keep an eye out for "call for papers." Many journals will put out requests for papers on special topic issues they are putting together. Some publishers provide searchable interfaces.
  • Use journal/manuscript matching tools. A lot of these tools have come to the fore recently. You can copy/paste your manuscript title, abstract and (sometimes) keywords into the the search interface and it will return journals which have published similar articles. 

Completing these steps should give you enough information to draft a short list of potential journals for you to evaluate and narrow down. Here are a few things to think about when evaluating your short list:

  • Would you prefer your work to be published in a generalist journal or a specialist publication?"?
  • Is your work within the scope of the journal? Check the journal site. Some journals won't accept case reports or reviews.
  • Is your work regional or does it have international appeal?
  • What is the peer review process?
  • What is the submission process?
  • What is the submission timeline?
  • What charges are involved?
  • Do you want to publish in an Open Access journal?
  • How important are journal metrics to you? Impact factor?

Manuscript matching tools

These journal/manuscript matchers have been developed by various entities and results will vary depending on which one you are using. They can be helpful in developing your short list of journals to investigate for submission. They can be also be a good tool to familiarize yourself with journals that publish in your area of research. 

Journal matching tools

  • JOT - A new open-source tool developed by the Yale School of Public Health. 
  • Web of Science Journal Matcher - Compares against 24k journals indexed in WOS. Users must create a free account before using this tool.
  • JANE Journal/Author Name Estimator - Provides some evaluation info like "indexed in MEDLINE" and "High Quality Open Access"
  • SPI-Hub - Tool created at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Works best as keyword/topic search matching vs. abstract matching.
  • Journal Guide - Resource created by Research Square. Claims to index 46,000 journals so results may require further investigation for quality. (See predatory journals)
  • IEEE Publication Matcher - This tool is focused on matching with technology journals but could potentially provide relevant journals where topics overlap.

Publisher Journal Matching Tools

Note that these tools were created by their respective publishers and will only return results for journals published by them.


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