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Scholarly Publishing

A guide to publishing strategically

Journal citation data should not be used in isolation to evaluate the prestige and suitability of a journal. 

Employers, promotion committees and funder stakeholders give weight to journals indexed in internationally recognised journal metric tools. Aim to integrate the use of these selection and evaluation tools into your publication planning process and also consider prioritising journals accordingly.

Once you have developed a short list of potential journals for publication - use these tools to gather important supporting information to inform your decisions.

Using these tools will save time - information is presented consistently and there are comparative options.

Citation indexes

Citation indexes are helpful to expose connections/networks between different authors, journals and topics. These specialised tools offer the opportunity to sort by number of citations,  create graphs and perhaps see patterns unfold that can inform your decision about the best source to publish in.

Journal evaluation tools

Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

InCites - Journal Citation Reports 

  • JCR is an authoritative resource for journal impact data.
  • Journals are given a Journal Impact Factor - titles only included if they are indexed in Web of Science.
  • It is possible that a journal is listed in more than one subject category.
  • Journal Impact Factors varies between fields.
  • Do not be put off by a journal impact factor that seems low in comparison to a JIF from another field.

Scimago Journal and Country rank

The Scimago Journal and Country rank

  • Is a publicly available portal
  • Includes Journal and Country specific indicators
  • Developed with the data available in Scopus (Elsevier)
  • Journals can be compared or analysed separately


Different sources of citation information mixes unique journal indicators into the citation data mix. It is best to keep in mind that these indicators are all built on unique algorithms, over different time frames, and includes differences in their base data sources. They fit into each other in a complex fashion.

Social attention to journals

Altmetric Explorer for Institutions

  • Are you currently evaluating a particular journal to see how it fits in with your publication plan?
  • Is it getting publicity or attention?
  • Where is this attention coming from?
  • Why?
  • You will find Altmetric Explorer for Institutions is an essential tool to help you fill in gaps of intelligence about a particular source.

Journal directories

UlrichsWeb : global serials directory (ProQuest)

  • This is an authoritative source of information about journals in about 900 subject areas.
  • Use it to establish the peer review status of journals.
  • Find out which databases index and includes a journal.
  • Find publisher information and journal frequency.

Cabells Journalytics Academic

  • Find/compare acceptance rates of journals.
  • Find/compare time from submission of a manuscript to publishing.
  • Find/compare time from review to acceptance of an article.
  • Find/compare top percentiles of journals for selected disciplines.

PubsHub: Journals & Congresses

  • Find/compare acceptance rates of journals.
  • Find/compare submission criteria for peer-reviewed medical journals and congresses.
  • Find the most appropriate journal or congress.


  • Check your copyright agreement with the publisher or
  • Check Sherpa/Romeo to see what is allowed by the publisher of your journal
  • It is rare that the publisher would allow the author to make the published [citeable] version of the paper freely available

Directory of Open Access Journals

  • Use this community curated list of high quality OA journals to identify suitable peer reviewed journals
  • Identify journals with a high level of openness and adherence to best practice and accepted publishing standards indicated by the orange circle DOAJ Seal of Approval
  • Easily group journals based on subject area coverage, existence of the DOAJ seal, publisher, or type of journal license (CC BY; CC BY-NC; CC BY-NC-ND; CC BY-NC-SA; CC BY-SA; CC BY-ND, etc.)

Journal selectors

Journal selectors are small publisher applications that can be used to suggest potentially suitable journals. You can even use these to practice and improve you abstract writing and keyword creation prior to submitting your article manuscript. Remember to use other evaluation tools to complement the suggestions from the selectors. We list only a few below.

Springer Journal Suggester

Search all Springer and BioMed Central journals to find the most suitable journal for your manuscript.

Elsevier Journal Finder

Elsevier® Journal Finder helps you find journals that could be best suited for publishing your scientific article. Please also consult the journal’s Aims and Scope for further guidance. Ultimately, the Editor will decide on how well your article matches the journal. 

Endnote Manuscript Matcher

Manuscript Matcher (Match) is built into Endnote Online. It is a Clarivate Analytics addin to Endnote. You will need to have a Web of Science account. Your Web of Science login allows access to Endnote online, Web of Science Core Collection, Current Contents Connect and similar Clarivate Analytics products. The feature can also be accessed via Endnote desktop or from within MS Word via the Endnote CWYW ribbon.

Matcher works best when your title has at least 10 words and your abstract has at least 100 words.

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