Consider This: How do you find the right journals for publishing your research?

There is increasing pressure for researchers to disseminate their work in the "publish or perish" paradigm. With the global scientific…

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There is increasing pressure for researchers to disseminate their work in the "publish or perish" paradigm. With the global scientific output doubling every nine years and the percentage of publishing scientists increasing at a rate of 4-5% each year, it is evident that publishing scholarly articles is a yardstick for measuring the research output of academics.

As health sciences librarians, we recognize the challenges of finding a good home for manuscripts especially with the emergence of predatory journals in the scholarly publishing arena. Predatory journals provide deceptive open-access publishing models whose primary purpose is to generate revenue by charging publication fees without offering the editorial and peer-review processes that are normally observed in legitimate journals. In addition to being cautious about predatory publishers, here are some strategies to consider when identifying the best journals to submit your work to.

Journal Level Metrics

There are several metrics that provide us with knowledge of a journal's history in being cited by other research articles, or the journal's "impact." The journal impact factor (JIF) is one of the most commonly used metrics that divides the number of citations in a particular year by the total number of articles published in the two preceding years. It is available through the library website by using Journal Citation Reports. Source normalized impact per paper (SNIP), unlike the JIF, measures the contextual impact of the citations received by a journal based on its subject area. It is available from Scopus. SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) measures the prestige of the journals that cite a journal. A journal that is cited by journals that are well-cited will receive a higher SJR rank.

You may use any of these metrics to identify journals that have higher perceived impact in the scholarly community. However, keep in mind that these metrics measure the journal's impact, and not the citation received by the individual articles.

Open Access

The open access publishing model allows your work to be discoverable since these types of publications are freely available on the web, allowing users to read, copy, download, or enable access to full-text articles. Since some academic journals are subscription-based (requiring a fee for accessing full-text articles), finding open access journals may be something you'd like to examine, to ensure that your work is available to a wider audience. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a website that lists high-quality open-access journals to which you may browse journal titles by subject.

Ask Your Colleagues

Colleagues are one of the best resources. Grad students should consult their supervisors for good journal names. Younger faculty members may rely on colleagues to identify journals that are considered higher impact in their fields. Since every faculty is different, the right places to publish will be dependent upon the discipline and the particular subject area of the research project.

Follow Author Guidelines

Now that you have some potential journals in which you'd like to publish, refer to the journal author guidelines before writing your paper. There are some journals that require authors to follow study design guidelines such as supporting documents for systematic reviews. This will save a lot of time later on for rewriting and it will also increase the likelihood that your manuscript will be accepted.

There are many other tips and tricks for locating the right places to publish. If you would like to learn more, sign up for the next workshop, Publishing in the Right Places for Health SciencesPublishing in the Right Places for Health Sciences, on March 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm.

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Janice Kung, MLIS - Librarian, John W. Scott Health Sciences Library

Janice Kung obtained her Master of Library & Information Studies degree at the University of Alberta. As a public services librarian, she provides teaching and research support to students, researchers, and faculty members.