How to... find the right journal Part: 2

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How to... find the right journal

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Article Sections

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

Research the journal

Having found the titles in your subject area, the next stage is to find out more about the journals concerned.

Find out about the editorial scope of the journal

You need to study the journal's:

  • mission statement
  • journal overview
  • author guidelines (provide more detail)
  • manuscript submission requirements
  • editorials, where editors often talk about the scope of the journal.

You will probably be able to locate these by looking at the journal's web page, or at a paper copy. The following four examples are all Emerald journals; however, the same principles will apply to other journals not published by Emerald.

The mission statement of International Marketing Review is:

"...International Marketing' Review is the 'International Marketing' Review and not an International 'Marketing Review'. This means it seeks to publish interesting, well written and academically robust papers which communicate clearly on international marketing issues. It is not a home for general marketing papers".

Click on the link above to get to the journal's information page, and from there to read the detailed journal overview and the author guidelines. Note the following:

  1. It clearly states what it does not publish, i.e. general marketing papers or single-country studies.
  2. It is interested in "powerful international marketing campaigns", and "international perspectives on the key issues and concerns preoccupying marketers". It welcomes articles on strategy, as well as comparative studies of markets and marketing practice, providing these are not merely descriptive.
  3. Papers must be academic and research-based, but with a practical application – "key benefits" states: "All of the papers...aim to communicate theoretical information clearly so it can be applied to practical situations in the real world. An essential resource for practitioners ... as well as being academically robust." The key journal audiences paragraph also indicates a practitioner market, listing managers as well as academics.
  4. It welcomes empirical studies (i.e. those based on original data), as well as conceptual studies (based on theoretical explanations, methodological developments, and modelling), or the "synthesizing literature review, when it enhances the way the literature is analysed", or case studies.
  5. Papers must be academically robust but they must also communicate clearly; hence they should keep statistical formulae and jargon to the minimum and present complex material as simply as possible.

"Manuscript requirements" in the author guidelines provides full information about the way in which the paper should be presented:

  • length of the article
  • what the autobiographical information should contain
  • information about header material – abstract, keywords, etc.
  • how to set out the "illustrative material": tables, figures, diagrams, photos, artwork, etc.
  • how to deal with references
  • how to finally submit the article.

The mission of Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal is:

"...dedicated to the advancement of accounting knowledge and provides a forum for the publication of high quality manuscripts concerning the interaction between accounting/auditing and their socio-economic and political environments".

Click on the link above to get to the journal's home page, and from there to read the detailed journal overview and the author guidelines. Note the following:

  1. The core subject matter is the interaction between accounting and its socio-economic and political environment. The problem must be international but the analysis can be at an international, national or organizational level. "Coverage" provides a list of types of articles.
  2. The research must be "well designed and executed", and based on a research question which is within the journal's scope.
  3. The paper must be "well written".

Full details on manuscript requirements are also given, as above.

The Journal of Documentation:

"...provides a forum for the dissemination of scholarly articles, research reports and critical reviews in the information sciences. It provides a link between research and scholarship and reflective professional practice so that all are informed and enhanced. The journal regularly achieves the highest citation rating in ISI for comparable titles".

Click on the link above to get to the journal's home page, and from there to read the detailed journal overview and the author guidelines. Note the following:

  1. The orientation of the journal is mainly theoretical and research oriented. It has a "...unique perspective of focusing on theories, concepts, models, frameworks and philosophies in the information sciences". It has a practitioner readership, but this is defined as "reflective practitioners". So, it is unlikely to publish material that is just a descriptive case study.
  2. The subject area is clearly defined under "Coverage".
  3. The type of articles which the journal publishes are: "articles on the methodology of research, information history, the information disciplines – including educational issues, curricula and links with other disciplines – and relations between academic study and professional practical. Critical and scholarly reviews are welcome, as are reviews of the evidence base for professional practice".
  4. Full details on manuscript requirements are also given, as above.

The mission of VINE is:

"to be a source of reference, perspective and inspiration for busy practitioners, providing perspectives from across the information and knowledge sectors".

Click on the link above to get to the journal's home page, and from there to read the detailed journal information page and the author guidlines. Note the following:

  1. Its subject coverage is "all aspects of information services, knowledge management, and library systems", further elaborated under "coverage".
  2. It welcomes articles of a practical nature about ICT, which are also innovative.
  3. The focus is on work in academic libraries, and typical articles will be "descriptions and evaluations of development and project work, reviews of underlying developments in technology and standards, and perspectives of key players".

Full details on manuscript requirements are given, as above.


In summary, you should seek to find out:

  • What the journal does not publish.
  • What its subject coverage is.
  • What its research focus is: does it seek only empirical research, does it also welcome other types of article, e.g. conceptual, literature reviews, case studies, etc.?
  • What its practitioner angle is: does it require an explicit link to practitioner benefits?
  • Are there specific instructions as to how to present material beyond a general admonition to write clearly, e.g. keep jargon and statistical explanation to the minimum?
  • How you should present your manuscript.

Research past and current issues to see the sort of articles it publishes

Do a considerable amount of reading in the journal itself, which will help you:

  • find out more about the sort of paper it publishes
  • be aware of ongoing debate in its pages
  • be aware of particular special issue which it has published
  • find out more about its scope through reading editorials.

Note that in a recent editorial in Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal the Editor commented:

"As a journal committed to the contextualized examination of accounting, auditing and accountability issues, [the journal] has supported and published research, debates and dialogues reflecting this multifaceted, complex and dynamic world."

Check out its future plans

See if the journal lists forthcoming issues, and whether it has any specific calls for papers. (Note that if the journal is a prestigious one, it will more than likely have the next year sewn up, so look out for calls for papers rather than for forthcoming issues.)

Find out about the journal informally

Having done your basic research in the journal by looking at the editorial objectives, etc., there is still more you can do, essentially by networking:

  • Develop a dialogue with other researchers in your area, join a network, and find out inside information from people who have had papers accepted (or rejected) by a journal.
  • Attend "Meet the Editor" sessions at conferences and workshops. You will often find out more than is stated on the website in the author guidelines, what you might term the "subtext", important but subtle issues to do with the decision making.
  • Keep an ear to the ground for calls for papers. Emerald always publishes these on the journal website, and you may hear of others via e-mail alerts, etc.
  • Talk to the editor about your ideas: conferences are an ideal place to meet them but you can also e-mail them.