How to... find the right journal Part: 1

How to... find the right journal

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Article Sections

  1. Choose a journal for publication
  2. Research the journal

Choose a journal for publication

Finding the right journal is as important to the publishing process as is having something original to say and saying it well. Many journal editors claim that a good proportion of their rejections happen not because manuscripts are of insufficient quality, but because they are inappropriate for the journal's objectives. As ever, it is easier (and usually leads to a more successful outcome) if you address these issues as early as possible.

There are two main issues to consider here:

  1. What are the journals in my subject area?
  2. How can I best reach my audience and achieve
    my publishing objectives?

What are the journals in my subject area?

You can find this out in a number of ways, by:

  • discussing with colleagues
  • checking with your professional association(s)
  • checking online journal listings.

For example

Browsing Emerald journals under "Accounting and Finance" offers a number of results, including short descriptions of each title.

Image: Browsing for 'Accounting and Finance' in Emerald journals

But, if you find the subject coverage to be inappropriate, a much larger selection is available from an aggregator like Ingenta (sometimes dauntingly large: 827 publications in economics and business were listed at time of press!).

Image: journals on Ingenta

Note, there may be more than one subject area for you to publish in; for example, if you are researching in the area of "export", this could either come under international business, or international marketing.

How can I best reach my audience and achieve my publishing objectives?

Having found the key journals in your subject area, the next stage is to consider your objectives.

If you are an academic seeking to further an academic career, you will most likely want to publish in the most prestigious journals. This raises the question of how do you measure quality? This is a difficult question to answer but the following may provide some guidelines:

  • What is the journal's ISI (Thomson Scientific) impact factor?
  • What databases and citation sources list the journal?
  • What is the perception of the journal by your peers: how often do they read, browse, consult it?
  • What is your perception of the journal: how often do you read, browse, consult it?
  • What is its actual and perceived rejection rate?
  • How often have you seen it cited?
  • Does your university subscribe to it?
    (Adapted from Guthrie et al. (2004), "From thesis to publication", in Burton, S. and
    Steane, P. (Eds), Surviving Your Thesis, Routledge, London, UK)

On the other hand, you may be a practitioner concerned at getting your message to other practitioners, in which case you will be less concerned with ISI factors and more with finding a good professional journal, one that is read by your colleagues.

Once you have decided on the journals which you wish to target, the next stage is to find out more about the journals, either from their home pages or from physical copies of the journals.