How to choose a journal to publish your research

Choosing a journal to publish the results of your research is an important step. It defines the audience of your article and how the latter will be presented in the academic community. The journal also determines the article’s formal status in the rating systems accepted in a certain country. These systems are related to financing and to recording performance.
There might be some cases when an authoritative and famous journal in your study field does not meet some formal criteria: the level of a journal metric including SJR, IF, SNIP and quartiles derived from them; belonging to RSCI, HAС, or other registers; indexing in Scopus, WoS, or other bases. This issue is gradually being mitigated. For example, the number of indexed journals is constantly increasing. This year, IF was calculated for the first time for Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI). However, quartiles have not yet been assigned to the journals from this index.
Please note that the information below does not guarantee successful publication in the journal selected. When choosing a journal, you should rely on your own experience. If you are a student, make sure to follow the recommendations of your scientific advisor.
So, you need to choose a journal to publish. This can be approached in various ways.
If you have a list of authoritative scientists in your field of research, you can check where they publish. Unfortunately, the access to author's profile in Scopus and WoS is currently limited to the latest ten articles, so it is easier to refer to Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, Dimensions AI, The Lens, Wisdom.ai, or other alternative databases. Please note that open resources do not check the information they present. We will clarify below how to do it yourself, using the tools available.
Also, refer to the list of cited and citing papers in the works that are of interest , and which journals they are from. Litmaps is a tool that could help you build a network of papers (free version includes up to 100 articles), based on a specific article or a set of articles. The program will display the most cited or recent papers.
Many publishing houses (such as Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor & Francis and others) provide lists of the most authoritative journals and scientists on a number of disciplines. Refer to their catalogs to see the journals they publish.
Elsevier has an excellent Journal Insights service, where you can receive the information about their journals: the scientific field, the publishing terms, the journal metrics. You can also submit your article for publication there.
When choosing a journal, we suggest the following steps:
  1. Make a list of journals that are the most relevant to the topic of your research. There are journals with a broad scientific profile, however, if it is not Nature, Science, or another world famous journal, too wide a range of scientific disciplines is an alarming signal.
  2. Rate the list by the level of prestige on your own or, if possible, with the help of more experienced colleagues. Check where those scientists get published who you see as an example to follow.
  3. Check the journals for compliance with the required formal criteria:
  • RSCI, Higher Attestation Commission, and other authoritative institutions lists,
  • indexing in Scopus (the current list is available on the link, we also wrote how to check the status of a journal in Scopus Preview, years coverage must be “to the present moment”)
  • indexing in WoS (after logging into your account the Master Journal List, lists of journals from the Core Collection (вставить ссылку на статью) are available for download, see the image below),
  • values of journal metrics and quartiles derived from them: SJR (вставить ссылку на статью), IF (вставить ссылку на статью).
4. Sort the journals which have Open Access (вставить ссылку на статью) content and DOI (вставить ссылку на статью).
5. From the remaining journals choose those that are the closest to your research. Please take into account the acceptance rate and the terms for publication.
Unfortunately, with the spread of a formalized approach to evaluation in science ("publish or perish" principle) and the Open Access policy, when the author pays for publication, "junk" and "predatory" journals appear more and more often.
The Elsevier experts have formulated the following signs that can help authors understand that they risk falling for the bait of a "dishonest" journal:
  • low values of journal metrics compared to similar journals;
  • an increase of the number of published works in recent years and of the percentage of uncited articles (90-98%);
  • most of the references are made by the journal itself or come primarily from one or two other journals only, or else from the journals of the same publisher;
  • most articles have been provided by 1-5 countries or 5-10 institutions (an exception may be a journal accepted into Scopus within the last 2 years);
  • paid publication is persistently advertised through spam letters.
We also recommend you refer to the text improvers, for example, Paper Preflight, and the services for selecting journals from major publishers.