What journal should I choose for my paper?

Choosing a journal for publication is a tricky process, which can be long, complicated, and lead to much frustration. This is an integral part of the higher education process, and choosing a journal is a big step in that journey. Here are some tips to help you narrow down which journals might be a proper home for your work.

Understand the review process

When examining a journal, one of the biggest questions to ask, is who is reviewing the pieces for publication? Peer reviewed journals are among the most credible, with experts in the field verifying the work you have completed. This adds a credibility to your own knowledge, which can then lend itself to your own future work and publications, as well as many future opportunities.

Take time to understand what goes into this review process, and who the board reviewing (or not reviewing your work) is comprised of. These peers and leaders in their fields have an important role in keeping overall published work accurate, and your contribution will be under scrutiny, with good reason.

Check the publisher

It's wise to know who is publishing the journal, and what their reputation might be in your specific area. In an ideal scenario, your paper will be published by a university or publisher which will deem your work appropriate for scholarly applications in the future; this credibility will go a long way when it comes to your future opportunities.

Some publishers make work open and accessible, while others restrict access and readership. Open journals are not necessarily less credible, but may have unique conditions or lack integrity in other ways.

Examine the standards and requirements

Every journal will have their own requirements and standards for published work. This ongoing list of needs and expectations might vary between journals, and it is not always easy to separate between the varying standards. Spreadsheets are a good way to keep you on top of requirement dates, submission processes, and the like. Take special care to document the needs presented by each journal, as to not mix them up, or miss a deadline.

Wallet check - your own, and the publisher's

Take time to understand the funding sources behind your work, and know their motivation. If you are publishing medical or science papers, be aware of privately held research or organizations looking for research to back up their claims. This does not necessarily invalidate your work, but be advised of the possible implications of these connections. Use the information you've gathered to make an informed choice.

Once you've discovered what your own work values might be, collect the data you find, and use this information to research your chosen journals in broad terms. Over time, it will likely become clear which publications will be a good fit, and what should be passed over. Spend time examining the requirements for submission, and take care to understand these stipulations. Regardless of where you wind up, it is worth taking the time and energy to know what you might be getting into, and taking time to choose the correct journal to suit your needs.