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Scholarly Research and Publishing: Early Career Researcher Edition: Discovering & Comparing Journals

This guide will acquaint graduate students and novice researchers with the basics of scholarly communications.

Discovering & Comparing Journals in a Field

Man looking through binoculars

You are probably already aware of some key journals in your field, perhaps because you read them regularly, have referenced them in your own research, or have published in them in the past.

However, you may be unaware of other good journals in your field. And if you begin to research and write in a somewhat new area, the journals you already know may not be the best suited to your new work.

The tools below can help you discover and compare journals that publish in a certain field or on a certain topic.

As you discover journals through a variety of tools, make note of different characteristics and whether they match your manuscript and goals, such as: 

  • Audience - Academic or professional/trade? Experts, students, or laypersons?
  • Style - E.g., Formal or conversational? Highly structured or more organic?
  • Content focus/angle - E.g., Theoretical/conceptual work or discussions of practical application?
  • How do these traits of style and content compare with your own? Are you a good match for this journal, and is it a good match for you?
  • What is the journal's acceptance rate?
  • Is this journal reputable and high-quality? See the page in this guide on avoiding predatory publishers.

When details are lacking, don't be afraid to contact a journal's editor and request details such as acceptance rate or circulation/readership.

Cabell's Scholarly Analytics

  • Journals in a variety of fields (especially Business, Computer Science, Education, Nursing & Health Administration, Psychology & Psychiatry, and Math & Sciences).
  • Who published a journal and how to contact them.
  • Requirements for manuscript length, submission, and more.
  • Citation-based metrics for the journal.
  • Acceptance rate, review process, length of time to review and publish, and difficulty of acceptance.
  • Journal's aims and scope to guage whether its goals fit with your own.

Explanation of publishing models: Cabell's includes indications of publishing models, but the terminology may not immediately be familiar. In general, 

  • Traditional indicates a non-free (pay for access) publishing model.
  • Green indicates a non-free publishing model, but which also allow authors to place their articles in open-access repositories.
  • Hybrid indicates a non-free publishing model which allow authors to pay a fee to make a specific article freely available.  
  • Gold indicates an entirely free, open-access publishing model. 

 

This video (4:52) from the University of Houston Libraries covers the basics of searching and navigating the Cabell's whitelist.

Please note: the video's statement about the blacklist not being available applies to UH, but the blacklist component of Cabell's **IS** available at SHSU.

 

This video (3:49) from the University of Massachusetts Libraries provides a good overview of searching for journals and impact data / metrics in Cabell's. 

SciRev: Evaluate Journals' Reviewing

 

What It Is: A tool to review the reviewing; peers' comments on the speed, efficiency, and helpfulness of a journal's review process. This type of insight into a journal can be helpful in comparing and selecting a journal for submission.

Weakness: Need for data on more journals. Consider submitting a review.

MLA Directory of Periodicals

  • Journals relating to literature, language, linguistics, culture, and folklore.
  • Who publishes a journal and how to contact them.
  • How frequently a journal is published and whether it is peer-reviewed.
  • For some journals: circulation numbers and acceptance rates.

UlrichsWeb

  • Journals, magazines, and trade publications in most subject areas.
  • Who publishes a journal and how to contact them.
  • How frequently a journal is published and whether it is peer-reviewed.
  • Whether a journal is print or online, free or paid, and for what sort of an audience it is written.

Basic Search: search for specific journal title or keyword.

Advanced Search: Search by additional details, such as "Active" (meaning a journal is currently being published), Journal or Magazine, Academic/Scholarly or Trade audience, and Language.

Click "More Limiters" to display options for an even more complex search, including a "Refereed/Peer-Reviewed" option, subject areas, countries of publication, etc. 

Directory of Open Access Journals

 

For more information about Open Access publishing, see the "Open-Access Publishing" page of this guide.

JournalGuide.com

  • Search for journals published in a category or find details on a specific journal. 
  • Details often include: Aim & Scope, Speed, Cost, and Open Access Policy.
  • May include journal's Impact Factor (if applicable) or SNIP score.
  • "Verified" label seeks to identify legitimate scholarly publications by indicating that a journal is "confirmed to be included in at least one high-value index or vetted by more than one subject specialized index."

Web of Science

 

This video (26:48) from Clarivate Analytics demonstrates the integrated use of Web of Science and JCR to inform manuscript submissions descisions.

TOP Factor: Evaluate Journals' Open Science Practices

Article-to-Journal "Matching" Tools

 

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