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Ask a Librarian

Scholarly Communications

A practical guide to scholarly publishing and engagement

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Journal

Which journals do you or your mentor/colleagues use? 

  • Journals that you or your colleagues read and/or cite
  • Journals published by your professional organization
  • Journals that are highly recommended for your area of research

Who is your desired audience?

  • If limited to a select area of research, select a journal with a narrow focus versus a multidisciplinary one
  • If international, select a journal with an international focus
  • Where is the journal indexed? Will your manuscript be discoverable to your target audience in relevant databases such as PubMed?

Are you required to comply with public access mandates for sharing of publications and/or data?

  • Research funded by organizations such as NIH, CDC, and NSF are required to comply with public access policies.
  • Check the information for authors section of the journal website or the Copyright Transfer Agreement form to confirm the journal allows authors to comply with public access mandates.
  • See our guide to open access for more information about public access.

Is the journal subscription, open access, or hybrid? 

  • For a subscription journal, is there an option to publish your work open access?
  • Many open access and hybrid journals charge author fees for making the work open access.
  • If publishing open access, is there an author processing fee upon acceptance of your work?
  • How transparent is the journal in disclosing fees (or lackthereof) associated with open access?
  • Does the author retain copyright?
  • See our guide to open access for more information about open access.

What is the quality of the peer review process?

  • Does the journal provide clear and transparent information about the peer review process? 
  • Is the review process described on the journal website?
  • Are the reviewers qualified to critique your research? 
  • How are revisions handled?

 Do you have a specific manuscript type in mind?

  • Some journals publish specific types of articles and may not be appropriate for your research.


Find Journal Information

The journal homepage is going to be the most important source for finding author guidelines and other submission information for authors. 

Use these resources to verify claims made on the journal website, and to find indexing, bibliometrics and other details about journal publications. 

Tools for Journal Selection