Writing and Publishing: Resources for Researchers and Scholars

This guide is brought to you by the Office of Scholarly Communications, where our goal is to help you reach yours.

Selecting a Journal for Your Next Publication: Tools for Finding the Perfect Fit

            Thanks to the proliferation of specialty and interdisciplinary journals, you have more publishing opportunities than ever.  But sorting through all the choices takes time – time you’d rather spend doing research. Fortunately, journal selectors allow you to efficiently identify your best options.   

            Journal selectors resemble Zillow, the popular real estate shopping website, and Perfect Dog, the app for finding the ideal canine companion.  You simply set the variables and click the “search” button.  As with any search engine, the quality of the results depends on the scope and accuracy of the information in the database.  On the one hand, selectors offered free of charge by Elsevier, IEEE, and Springer include only the publisher’s own journals but presumably the publisher has direct access to accurate information.  On the other hand, selectors such as EndNote Match, which requires a subscription to the citation manager EndNote, and Edanz Journal Selector, which offers a complementary selection tool as well as fee-based editorial services, boast a broader database but may rely on journal editors to provide the data.   Forrester, Björk, & Tenopir (2017)  provide a valuable assessment of popular selectors. With these precautions in mind, you may want to test-drive multiple selectors in order to determine which yields the most useful results. 

            As you begin, consider your obligations and goals.  Does your sponsor mandate open access publications? Does your tenure/promotion committee require peer review or expect publication in a journal with a particular impact factor?  Whom do you want to reach? Researchers in your subfield?  Colleagues across your discipline? An interdisciplinary audience?  Enter these factors as your search variables, and the selector will recommend potential journals.  Before firing off your article to the first one on the list, however, you want to evaluate each with care. Visit the journal’s website for information about its mission, scope, audience, submission requirements, review process, editorial board, and editorial policy.  Make sure the journal is respectable – not predatory. (Learn how to spot a predatory journal in the May 2017 issue of the Catalyst.)  Read a few recent issues and imagine your article in these pages.  Finally, look for comments from authors on user-review websites such as SciRev.  Then, when you’ve found the best-fit for your article, submit it with confidence.

            By using a journal selector, you can identify opportunities to bring your research to new audiences, increase its impact, and achieve your goals.



Forrester, A., Björk, B. C., & Tenopir, C. (2017). New web services that help authors choose journals. Learned Publishing, 30 (August), 281–287. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1112


Melody Herr, PhD

Head, Office of Scholarly Communications

March 2018