How to Make the Right Journal Choice

After many months of completing experiments and analysis, it is time to prepare your research article for submission and to select a journal. Journal choice is an important decision to make. Selecting the wrong journal can mean publishing delays or poor readership of your research. In this article, we provide tips on how the make the right journal choice.

Avoid Predatory Journals

Predatory journals are scam journals that take your money, do no peer review, and publish in a non-indexed fake journal. They waste your time, money, and research. Do not even consider them. We have a whole article on how to identify and avoid predatory journals.

Check your References

A good place begin your list of potential journals, is by looking at your references. Often the articles that you cite will be from journals related to your research. You can see which journals appear most often in your reference list and add them to a list of potential journals.

Talk to your Co-Authors and Colleagues

Co-authors and colleagues are another great resource to help with your journal choice. They may suggest options that you would not even have considered. This is especially true if you are trying to publish in a new field, or publishing multidisciplinary work.

Check the Journal Scope

With a list of potential journals in mind, we need to narrow down our options. The first thing to do is check the scope of each journal on the list. If the journal scope does not match your research article, then remove it from your list. Also, make sure the journal accepts your type of article. If you wrote a review and the journal only allows invited reviews, then that journal would be the wrong journal choice.

Consider the Audience

Next, assess how the paper was written. Is your paper very technical, that only experts in your field will understand? If so, select a specialty journal. If your paper is multidisciplinary, and written for a broad audience, then it is better to select a multidisciplinary journal.

Open Access vs Traditional Publishing

Consider the how the article will be published as well. If you want the journal to be accessible by anyone, you want to retain the copyright, and do not mind paying up to $2,000 USD to publish, then select an open access journal or a journal with an open access option. If you do not want to pay an open access fee, then select a journal that has the option for traditional publishing.

Data Storage

If you want to, or the journal is requesting that you make your data available, you need to consider this data storage cost. Some journals have their own data repositories and allow storage for free. Other journals may have relationships with data repositories that will allow you to store your data for free or at a low cost.

Journal Prestige

Journal prestige is another important factor to consider. Many researchers begin submitting to the most prestigious journal on their list. If the article is rejected, they move onto the next most prestigious journal until the article is accepted. Journal prestige is often determined by the impact factor of a journal. Though journal prestige is also influenced by the editorial board members of the journal and whether the journal is sponsored by a prestigious society.

Turnaround Time

Also, take into consideration when you want your research to be published. Some journals offer rapid review and publication if accepted. A journal with a quick time from submission to review to publication is better if you have time-sensitive research. Often, different research groups are working on similar problems. All the “fame” goes to the group that is first to publish, and therefore you may want to narrow your journal choice to only journals with fast turnaround times.

Turnaround time and impact factor often should be considered together. Submitting to a journal with a high impact factor increases your chances that your paper will be rejected. More prestigious journals receive many more articles than they can publish and can have high rejection rates. For instance, the journal Nature has a rejection rate of over 90%. Peer-review takes time and each journal that rejects your paper can increase your time to publish by 2-3 months.

Get Provided Journal Suggestions

At Sengi Data, we offer 10 free journal suggestions right to your inbox. This can be a great starting point for generating your list of potential journals. Our provided suggestions may also be journals that you would not have otherwise considered. We also provide information on journal impact factor and open access vs traditional publishing. This helps simplifies your journal choice.


Journal choice is an important decision to make for your research. There are many important factors to consider such as journal scope, audience, publishing options, turnaround time, and prestige. By following the tips in this article you will have extra tools to make the right journal choice. We are happy to provide personalized journal suggestions as well.