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Scholarly Publishing Guide

This guide will help you evaluate and select journals, avoid predatory publishers, negotiate publishing contracts, understand mandates for sharing your publication, and reuse your own work appropriately.


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Erin Owens
NGL 223D
ORCID: 0000-0001-9520-9314

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Discovering & Comparing Journals in a Field

You probably already know some key journals in your field. However, you may be unaware of other good journals, especially emerging titles. And when you expand into a new area of research, familiar journals may not your best options.

The tools below can help you discover journals and compare their characteristics with your manuscript and goals: 

  • Is this journal reputable and high-quality?
  • Scope and Mission - What do they want to accomplish? What topics do they include and exclude?
  • 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?
  • Acceptance rate, readership, citation-based metrics, and other quantitative factors?
  • 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?

When details are lacking, don't be afraid to contact a journal's editor.

Article-First Approach: May Be Easier for Early-Career Researchers

This approach is generally easier if you are an early career researcher not yet be accustomed to thinking of their work in terms of top-level disciplinary categories and terms. This can also be a beneficial approach if you are a more experienced researcher transitioning into a new area of research.

(1) Start by using the sources in this box to search for articles on similar topics and find out where they are published.

(2) Next, move to the sources in the "Journal-First Approach" box to look up specific journal titles and compare their characteristics to your goals.

Example: Searched for third language acquisition

Publication filter in Engine Orange showing the list of journals represented in the search results

Journal-First Approach: May be More Efficient for Experienced Researchers

This approach may be more efficient for more experienced researchers who are more familiar with thinking of their work in top-level disciplinary categories and terms and who may already be more familiar with an array of disciplinary journals.

(1) Start by using the sources in this box to search for journals in a field and compare their characteristics.

(2) Next, use the sources in the "Article-First Approach" box to read articles from recent issues and verify whether a journal is a good fit for your work.

How-To Videos

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

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. 

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

Other Tools for Vetting Journals

Article-to-Journal "Matching" Tools

These are options which use natural language matching and artificial intelligence to suggest journals. Try them out, but recognize that they lack human mediation.





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