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Choosing & Evaluating Journals, Publishers & Conferences: Selecting a Journal

This guide provides information on choosing and evaluating journals for possible publication.

Finding Reputable Journals

Finding a reputable journal takes time. Ideally, an author should have some idea of where they want to publish an article before it is finished. This page provides information on evaluating journals to identify reputable journals for publication. It includes a list of resources that can be used to identify reputable journals, as well as information on other resources that can be used to identify potential journals such as citations, indexes & databases, database vendor title lists, index title lists, journal matching resources and discussion lists, news feeds, blogs, colleagues and librarians.


What are you citing? Most articles require a literature review and include references to articles. Look at the references cited in your literature review. Are there several articles from the same journal in your reference list? Since your article builds on work published in that journal, consider contacting that journal's editor to see if they might be interested in your article.

Database Search Results

Most journal articles include a literature review. Authors can use the results of their literature review to identify journals that publish in a specific field. After searching a topic in a database, look for the options that can be used to limit a search along the left side of the page. The titles of journals that publish on a topic are displayed in a section called Publication (EBSCO indexes), Publication Title (ProQuest indexes) or Source Titles (click on View all options in Science Citation Index). Click on that entry. A list of journals that publish in a given field will be displayed. Each of those titles is followed by a number in parentheses that indicates how many articles on the topic appear in a given journal. Titles are organized according to that number. Authors might want to consider submitting their article to one of those titles. See the examples below.

Indexes & Databases

Indexes & Databases - The WIU Libraries subscribe to over 120 Indexes and Databases on a wide variety of subjects that can be used to locate journal articles and other publications on a topic. In addition, the Libraries provide access to digital collections such as JSTOR and Project MUSE. It is possible to view the titles included in subject indexes by examining the title lists on database vendors' websites. Links to vendor title lists are given below.

Index Title Lists

Most databases provide a list of journals that are indexed. The following links connect to pages that provide title lists for indexes in a number of different fields, including indexes that are available through the WIU Libraries as well as other important subject indexes (such as the Citation Indexes from Thomson Reuters). These lists could be useful in finding journals in a given subject area. In particular, look at the journals that are given priority or listed as core journals in an index.

Journal Matching Resources

Several publishers and websites provide resources for identifying potential publications. Authors can cut and paste the title and abstract for a potential article into a box to be matched with journals that publish articles in that field. They include:

Discussion Lists, Newsfeeds, Blogs, Colleagues & Librarians

News Feeds, Blogs, Discussion ListsColleagues - sometimes colleagues may know of publishing opportunities; ask colleagues in your Department, your advisor from your degree granting institution, or other people in your field for information about potential journals or publishers. If you attend professional meetings or participate in online discussion lists, ask colleagues you know and trust to recommend a potential journal. Also visit the exhibits area at national professional meetings and talk to the publisher representatives.

News feeds and blogs often contain information about recent developments in a field, which are often based on recently published journal articles. If you find one of interest to your field and topic, look at that journal and their author instructions. Finally, if you know someone doing research in your subject area, look them up in an index to see where they are publishing.

Finally, you can always contact your Library Liaison for help finding journals and other information.

Resources for Identifying Reputable Journals

There are literally thousands of different journals available for publication. They can be published by commercial publishers, such as Springer or Elsevier, or scholarly societies and organizations. Some journals require a subscription to read the articles, while other journals are open to all users (Open Access Journals). Some Open Access journals do not require a fee for publication, while other open access publishers require that authors pay a fee to have their articles published. While some fee-based open access publishers are very reputable, there are publishers and journals that have been established to simply make money off of the scholarly publishing system; these publishers and their journals are often viewed as vanity presses or publishers. Jeffrey Beall, Scholarly Initiatives Librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver Auraria Libraries, refers to these publishers as "predatory publishers." As a result, faculty need to evaluate potential journals and their publishers before deciding to publish their work. The following resources could be useful for identifying potential journals for publication: