How to Choose a Target Journal for Your Paper

Steps to find target journal


With the increase of the scholarly journals, nearly 35000 scholarly peer-reviewed journals, choosing the correct target journal for your publication has become very challenging. Your manuscript may fit within the scope of many journals; however, you do not know which one to choose. In this article, we are going to explain the steps that will help you find the best journal for your article and will keep you safe from fake and predatory journals.


It is preferred to start with one of the famous indexing databases such as Web of Science (multidisciplinary), Scopus (multidisciplinary), or PubMed (biomedical) to find journals that the scope of your paper matches. Search the database using your paper’s key words and key phrases. Then, list the journals that have published papers in the same field as yours.


A comparison should be made so that you can get a thorough look into these journals and define which the best one for your paper is. You will need to compare the journals in terms of the following aspects:


One of the most common reasons for papers rejection is that they do not perfectly match the scope of the journal. Editors would like to publish papers that are of interest to their readers. So, you will need to read the aims and scope section and check some of the recently published content to identify the journal’s scope then decide whether your paper fits within it or not. The more the journal is specialized and focused on your paper’s topic, the more it will be read and distributed.

Abstracting and Indexing

This section should be found in all journals’ webpages where they list the indexing databases covering their content. The more databases cover the journal, the more your article will be distributed when it gets published. Not only the number of databases is important, but also there are some databases that are essential for you to make sure that the journal of good quality such as Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index, Scopus, PubMed, Emerging Sources Citation Index, and Ei Compendex. Do not depend only on the webpage of the journal, but you should verify that it is indexed in the databases mentioned on the webpage. For example, if it is stated that the journal is indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), you should verify this yourself by checking SCIE records.

Impact Factor

If you would like to publish your article in a well-reputed journal and would like to get your paper cited and referenced by other researchers, the impact factor is highly important for you. The impact factor calculation mainly depends on the number of citations to the journal. That means the higher the impact factor, the higher the citations the journal gets, and the more challenging and difficult to get your paper published there. If you believe that your paper is of high value, then you should find one with a high impact factor.

It is highly important to verify that the journal has a real impact factor since there are many fake journals claiming that they have impact factors but they do not. Stay away from journals stating “Global Impact Factor” or “Universal Impact Factor” and so on. The impact factor is the one released by the Journals Citations Report (JCR).

Editorial Policy

Each journal has its own editorial policy and workflow. You will need to know which policy the journal applies; single-blinded peer review, double-blinded peer review, or open peer review.

Single-blinded Peer Review:

The reviewers know who the authors are but the authors do not know the reviewers.

Double-blinded review:

The reviewers’ and authors’ identities are kept anonymous.

Open review:

The reviewers’ and authors’ identities are revealed to each other.

Moreover, check more details about the workflow; how many rounds of review expected? What is the average time of the review process? After getting this info, you can decide based on your own preferences and time available for you to get your paper published.

Type of Access

Is it an open access or subscription-based journal? If the journal is open access, it will be freely available to everyone on the internet which helps in higher distribution, but if it is subscription-based, it will be available only to people who have access to read the journal’s content. Of course, each one has pros and cons so you need to know and decide based on your preferences.

Article Processing Charges

Before submitting your paper, you will need to be aware of the article processing charges that will be made upon the acceptance of your paper and make sure that there are no hidden fees.


When you finish the comparison, you will find that you have a shortlist of prestigious and well-reputed journals to consider your paper. So, now you need to choose one of them and check its guidelines for authors. By checking this section, you will be familiar with which template to use, what the necessary sections to be included in the paper, how to submit the paper, what are the fonts and styles to use in the paper, what are the references and citations styles, and etc. You will need to prepare your submission in the light of these guidelines.


Do not ever submit the paper to more than one journal, just start with the most suitable one and prepare your manuscript well to match its requirements. Keep in mind that Editors are looking for something venturous and novel for their journals’ readers. They cannot accept manuscripts reiterating the same thing that has been heard many times by the readers.

We believe that by following these steps, you will be fully aware of the potential journals that can consider your submission for publication and you will be able to choose the best opportunity for you. Also, this way helps you stay away from fake journals.

These are the most important steps to find your target journal, thanks for reading and I hope it will be helpful. Feel free to let us know your thoughts in a comment.

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Further Readings and Resources

  • Rob Johnson, A. W. (2018). The STM Report. Prins Willem Alexanderhof 5, The Hague, 2595BE, The Netherlands: International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers.
  • Dhammi, I. K., & Haq, R. U. (2016). What is indexing. Indian journal of orthopaedics50(2), 115–116. doi:10.4103/0019-5413.177579
  • Sharma, M., Sarin, A., Gupta, P., Sachdeva, S., & Desai, A. V. (2014). Journal impact factor: its use, significance and limitations. World journal of nuclear medicine13(2), 146. doi:10.4103/1450-1147.139151
  • Björk, B., Solomon, D. (2012) Open access versus subscription journals: a comparison of scientific impact. BMC Med 10, 73 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-73
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