Thing 04: Choosing Where To Publish

Ready to publish but not sure where to start? You’re not alone! To help you find the right journal or publisher for your research, in this post Gerry Fahey and Kathryn Lindsay introduce a number of tools you can use to investigate and compare the options available.

Getting started

Deciding on where to publish can be daunting, but luckily there are many resources to guide you through the process. The University of Melbourne has subscriptions to several tools that you can use to select possible publications, while others are freely available. Using these tools to analyse the information available on journals, conferences, book publishers, or other scholarly publishing options, can help you to:

  • Target the right publications to maximise your chances of acceptance.
  • Reach the audience you want to share your research with.
  • Increase the impact of your research and the citations it receives.
  • Build a track record for future grants, employment opportunities and promotions.
  • Avoid predatory, deceptive and low-quality journals or publishers.

Below we provide some suggestions for how you can use these tools to analyse and select scholarly publishing options for your work.

That Thing you do: integration into practice

Search for sources of similar work

Are you regularly searching the literature to keep up with new research on your topic? Use your searching skills to analyse where work similar to yours is being published. Both Web of Science and Scopus have analysis tools that allow you to view the sources where papers on your topic are most frequently published. Want to have a go? The videos Web of Science: Discover Trends Using Analyze Results and Scopus Tutorial: How to analyze your search results will get you started.

Have you been building a library of references in reference management software to write your thesis or paper? You can also use it to find where work similar to yours is being published, by viewing the most frequently occurring source publications in your library. For example, in EndNote select: Tools > Subject Bibliography > Secondary Title.

Investigate impact

Thinking of publishing in a journal? It’s a good idea to look at ranked lists of journals in your subject area, so you can identify high impact journals where, on average, papers are more likely to be cited. One tool the university subscribes to that you can try is InCites Journal Citation Reports (JCR). Watch the video Journal Citation Reports – Journal Impact Factor for tips on how to use it.

You may also want to view the journal rankings by subject area on these freely available websites: CiteScore, Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) or Google Scholar Metrics.

Dig deeper with databases

Through the library, you have access to further databases with information on journals, including the UlrichsWeb Global Serials Directory This directory is an authoritative source which provides information such as whether a journal is peer reviewed, which databases it is indexed in, how frequently it is published, and details on its publisher.

Cabell’s Scholarly Analytics has two components: “Journalytics” index over 11,000 reputable journals, while “Predatory Reports” flag likely deceptive or fraudulent academic journals for selected disciplines. It also includes journal acceptance rates and typical time taken to review and publish articles.

Manuscript matchers

Some tools will automatically suggest a list of journals with metrics for you to consider and compare, based on details from your manuscript, such as the title, keywords, abstract or references.

Try EndNote Manuscript Matcher, which you can access via EndNote Online. Just enter your manuscript title, abstract, and optionally select your references, and it will suggest publications for you. You may also wish to try tools such as Elsevier Journal Finder, Springer Journal Suggester, and JournalGuide.


There is no single and absolute authority to determine the best or worst scholarly publishing outlet.  As mentioned above, you need to consider what is right for your paper. Who will your audience be? Will you be using Open Access? How will you avoid predatory and poor-quality journals?

Learn more

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has members worldwide from all academic fields. Membership is open to editors of academic journals and others interested in publication ethics. If you find the COPE logo on a journal’s website, it is an indication that the journal has been critiqued by COPE as a prerequisite for membership. Together with the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), minimum criteria have been set that journals will be assessed against when they apply for membership of the respective organisations. Here is a link to the full criteria on principles of transparency and best practice.

Another useful online tool to help you understand the process and make a good publishing choice is Think, Check Submit for journals, and its companion site, Think, Check, Attend for conferences.

Still hungry for more information? Read about Thirty one things to consider when choosing which journal to submit your paper to, and New web services are helping authors make data-driven decisions when choosing which journal to submit to.

About the authors

Gerry Fahey (B.Ed Deakin, GradDipLibrarianship, GradDipStudentWelfare, GradCertUniversityManagement UoM) is a Liaison Librarian in the Science and Engineering Liaison team, based at the Creswick Campus. He is also the manager of the Creswick Campus Historical Collection, and has written about the collection and the history of Forestry education in Victoria.

Kathryn Lindsay (BSc BE(Hons) Melb, GradDipInfoMgt RMIT) is a Senior Liaison Librarian and supervises the Science and Engineering Library team at the University of Melbourne, where she has worked for over 10 years. Kathryn previously worked as a Software Engineer and enjoys finding ways to use technology effectively to support research.


Image Credit: Woodtype printing font letterpress by Pixabay


One more Thing

You can learn more about how choosing where to publish and open access publications from this recording of a webinar presented by Thing 3 author, Dimity Flanagan:

Webinar: Seeking the citation advantage: Open Access publishing
Date and time: Wednesday 24 June, 2020 from 10am-11am
Description: A recent study puts the citation advantage of Open Access articles at 18%. This webinar will dig a little deeper into the evidence to look at and which types of Open Access are likely to bring the most benefits. You’ll leave this session with practical advice on how you can make your past and future research more widely available.

These online events are a part of Researcher Connect – an online program for University of Melbourne researchers (9 June – 3 July 2020). (Explore more resources)

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