VCU Libraries

Research Guides

How to identify a journal for publication

This guide describes some common considerations for authors as they identify journal options for article publication.

Journal Considerations

The most basic way to identify journals for publication is to look for overlap in your article’s topic and a journal’s scope. However, there are other factors to consider that will help you match your article to the right journal:

Which journals are currently publishing research that is similar to yours? 

  • When searching databases to identify journals, try sorting the results by date to see which journals are currently publishing articles most similar to yours.
  • When assessing a specific journal, use a keyword search across the journal’s previous issues to see how often they have published on topics related to your article.

How important is the journal's average turnaround time from submission to publication?

  • See if the journal is included in Cabell’s Journals Lists and has shared its average time to review and time to publication.
  • Check the journal website for this information, and contact the editor with questions.
  • If all else fails, check multiple articles on the journal’s website to see if they include dates associated with the article that can give you an idea of the average turnaround time. For example, some journals share the dates articles were received, revised, accepted, and/or made available online.

Where is the journal indexed and what kind of readership does it have?

  • Review the journal's website to find information about where the journal is indexed, or which databases include the journal. If you cannot find this on the journal website, check the databases that you and others in your discipline commonly use to see if the journal is included.

Do you want to make the final published version of your article open access immediately upon publication?

  • If so, you will need to look for fully open access journals or journals that offer an open access option. While some open access journals have no author-facing publishing charges, some do (including journals with open access options).

Do you want to be able to share freely accessible versions of your article online?

  • Many journal publishers now allow authors to share certain versions of their articles online, with some restrictions. For example, authors may be allowed to share their "accepted manuscript" (the version that includes all peer review revisions but does not yet have final copy editing and layout design) on their departmental websites and in not-for-profit repositories either 12 or 24 months after publication.