Identify & Evaluate Journals

How can you identify journals to publish your work in? To start, look at the journals you read, that your colleagues read and publish in, and at who you cite in your work. Is there a pattern to those journals?

When considering a journal as a potential place to publish, here are some things you might ask yourself:

Is the journal the right place for my work?

  • Does the subject matter covered in the journal match your scholarship?
  • Do the types of articles published and article length guidelines match with what you want to submit?
  • Who is the audience of the journal?

Is this a trusted journal?

Look for journals where you can answer yes to many of the following questions:

  • Can you identify the publisher? Are they affiliated with an organization you're familiar with? Is there contact information present? 
  • Do the affiliations & backgrounds of the editorial board and authors publishing in the journal appear to be appropriate for the subject matter of the journal?
  • Are articles peer-reviewed?
  • Does the journal have an ISSN, and do articles have DOIs?
  • Are the journal's copyright policies & any fees to publish clear? If you'd like to publish open access, are there options?
  • Is the journal indexed in a database that you use? Ulrich's Periodical Directory will list databases the jorunal appears in.

You can also look at the Think Check Submit checklist, use a journal evaluation tool [pdf], or Ask a Librarian! We can help identify potential journals related to your field, and offer a number of tools that may help you locate an appropriate journal.

Journal Directories

Article analyzers & journal suggesters

Tools to Measure Journal Impact

Read more about these tools & measures on Hirsh Library's Measuring Research Impact guide.

Predatory Publishing

"Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices."

Grudniewicz, Agnes, et. al. (2019). Predatory journals: No definition, no defence. Nature (London)576(7786), 210–212.

Signs that a journal might be predatory include:

Visit the website for the journal and consider the questions in the Identify & evaluate journals section above. Some red flags include:

  • You don't recognize previously published authors or members of the editorial board
  • The journal isn't affiliated with a University or scholarly organization you are familiar with
  • You can't easily identify if they have author processing fees and/or how much they cost.
  • The journal doesn't appear professional - look for an impact factor, an ISSN, DOIs for individual articles, and easy to find contact information
  • There isn't clear information about a peer-review process, or the journal promises extremely fast turn-around times to publishing that don't allow enough time for review

How to Write Journal Articles


This page was adapted with permission from the excellent guide on Scholarly Communication created by Andrea Schuler at Tufts University. Many thanks, Andrea.