Publish strategically

A researcher has a lot to gain from a strategic approach when choosing a journal to publish in. Depending on what you want to achieve with your publication, there are different aspects to consider. There are four basic criteria for assessing journals.

1) Is the academic journal serious? 

Always make sure the journal you are about to publish in is a serious journal to avoid publishing in questionable journals (often called predatory journals).

If the journal is included in one of the following databases, it is a good indication that it is a serious journal, but just because it is not included in any of them does not mean it is dubious.

Is the journal included in the Norwegian List?

Only journals reviewed and complying with specific requirements are included in the Norwegian List as level 1 or level 2 journals.

How to check this?
NSD The Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers

Is the journal included in Web of Science

Only journals reviewed and complying with specific requirements are included in Web of Science.

How to check this?
Clarivate Analytics Master Journal List 

Is the journal included in Scopus?

Only journals reviewed and complying with specific requirements are included in Scopus.

How to check this?
Scopus Sources

Is the journal indexed in Medline?

Only journals that have been reviewed and meet specific requirements are included in Medline, the quality assured part of  PubMed.

How to check this?
Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases
Journals indexed in Medline have status Currently indexed for MEDLINE.

Is the journal included in DOAJ?

Only journals reviewed and complying with specific requirements are included in DOAJ: If the journal is an open access journal, it should be included here. Some dubious journals' websites falsely claim their journal is listed in DOAJ.

How to check this?
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) 

2) Is the journal visible?

An article that cannot be found on the web has a problem reaching its readers.

Are the articles visible on the web?

Competent publishers often choose to give articles good metadata. This means they are easier to find.

How to check this?
Google a few complete article titles to see if you find them.

Is the journal a pure Open Access journal?

Articles published open access are much more visible than articles behind a pay wall. Many (but not all) Open Access journals are in DOAJ.

How to check this?
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

If the journal is a subscription based journal, does it have a short embargo period?

Subscription based journals often give authors possibility to parallel publishing (green Open Access) after an embargo period that can be long or short. A shorter embargo period gives you a greater opportunity to make your article more visible through marketing.

How to check this?
Sherpa/Romeo

Elsevier Journal Embargo Finder (for Elsevier journals)

Does the journal have DOI links (Digital Object Identifier) to all articles?

DOI links are permanent identification codes for academic publications. They are there to facilitate correct linking.

How to check this?
Check if an earlier article in the journal has a working DOI link.

3) Is the journal high-ranking?

Publishing in highly rated journals leads to higher impact for the research.

Is the journal ranked in level 2 in the Norwegian database Publiseringskanaler (The Norwegian list)?

Approved journals and publishers are ranked in level 1 (scientific) or level 2 (leading in their scientific field).

How to check this?
The Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers

Is the journal in the top quartile within its subject area?

Journals in Web of Science have a Journal Impact Factor (JIF), an indicator based on the average number of citations per article. This can be used to compare the journal's impact. The top 25% of journals with the highest JIF belong to the top quartile in the subject area.

How to check this?
Journal Citations Reports

For comparisons; always use JIF values for journals within the same subject area!

Does the journal have a high SNIP value in Scopus?

Journals in Scopus have a SNIP value, an indicator measuring the journals impact in its field. The average journal has a value 1.

How to check this?
Scopus Sources

4) Are there any other criteria that may be important in selecting journals?

Journals that, in other ways, seems suitable may not be meet your needs.

Does your funder require open access? Most funding agencies have mandated OA?

Researchers funded by the major research financiers must either publish the results in an Open Access journal or parallel publishing shortly thereafter.

How to check this?
See research funding requires open access publishing.

Is the journal affordable?

Many open access journals charge Author Processing Charges (APC).
Subscription journals often charge fees, such as for publishing images and color illustrations.

Many subscription based journals allow open access publishing (hybrid open access) for a fee. This is often more expensive than publishing in pure open access journals.

How to check this?
Check the journals home page. This information could be a hidden in an FAQ or in some other page.

For available discounts, also see Open Access

Is the journal in the right field?

One important reason for rejection is that an article is outside the field of the journal.

How to check this?
Read the journals "scope".

Is it important to you that the time between submitting and publication is short?

Sometimes it could be important that the article is published quickly. But keep in mind that questionable journals often offers short peer review processes.

How to check this?
Compare the time between submitted and published for some articles in the journal.

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