Find the Right Journal
Even if a journal is ranked at the top of a list or has a high rejection rate, it may not be the best journal for your paper. The content of your paper should be similar to the kinds of things that the journal publishes. In the course of your research, you likely already are developing your own opinions about the quality and relevance of journals in your particular research area, these opinions can help you narrow down which journals to consider for your paper.
Some things to consider when looking for the best journal that's appropriate for the content of your paper include...
- What journals are you reading and citing?
- Who is the editor of the journal? Who is on the editorial board? Where do they work? What are their reputations?
- Who has written articles in the journal recently? What are their reputations? Are the articles relevant and good?
Information about Journals
The following databases will help you explore your options. You may also find rankings of journals published as articles in journals and association newsletters.
What about Open Access Journals?
Open access journals allow anyone to read the articles, without charge. Open access allows a wider audience to read articles than toll access. Articles that are available without charge tend to be more highly cited than articles with closed access.1
Look at the quality of the journal first. Some high-quality open access journals have built strong reputations for high-quality articles. VCU even subsidizes the publication fees that some open access publishers charge.2 Some open access journals have built reputations for minimal peer review and high charges for publication.3
Many subscription journals allow you to post some version of the article on your own Web site or in an open access repository.4 If the best journals for your article aren't open access, see if you can do post an open-access copy to increase your readership.
Choose an Academic Book Publisher
Outside of a handful of well-known university presses (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and University of Chicago), the reputations of publishers will vary depending on the subject area. Small university presses can develop strong reputations for particular subject areas, even though they are not well-known in other areas. Look at the publishers of what you read in your discipline and ask other scholars for suggestions.
Occasionally articles rank academic presses in a particular field, so it doesn't hurt to check if a list exists. Such lists give you a rough idea of the reputations of presses in that field, but they are not absolute. For example, a recent survey of political scientists gave somewhat different rankings from an earlier survey of librarians, and both gave somewhat different rankings from earlier surveys of political scientists.