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Scholarly Communication (Health Sciences)

This guide provides a process and tools for selecting to which journal to submit a manuscript:

  • Identify potential journals using specialized lists, software, and databases
  • Evaluate selected journals: ranking, selectivity, and accessibility


Identify Journals

A incredibly large number of journals are published. Your first task is to generate a short list of journals that cover the appropriate subject area (then you will evaluate your chosen titles to create a short ranked list). There are several ways to find journals, but each of these tools or methods only include some journals (no source includes all journals currently published). Try using a few different methods to ensure you see a fuller picture of the publishing landscape.

Input your abstract and/or keywords

Search a database. Search these databases using keywords relating to your article. These databases provide a way to view your results sorted by journal (showing you the journals that likely publish similar materials).

Evaluate Journals

Every author will need to evaluate the ranking, selectivity, and accessibility of a journal before submission. Your project might require evaluating other aspects, as well. You can contact the Libraries for help with evaluating journals.

Rank of a journal: There are several competing systems for comparing and ranking journals. Not all systems include all journals.

Selectivity: This refers to the number of submissions received by the journal versus the number accepted. Typically more prestigious journals have lower acceptance rates. Currently the libraries do not subscribe to any sources that provide acceptance rates. Many journals include this information on their websites; or, use the Ulrichsweb Serials Directory to find the email address or phone number for the managing editor, contact them, and ask.

Availability: The more expensive an annual journal subscription is, the less likely that a large number of libraries or institutions will subscribe, making it less available to the peers you want to communicate with. Use the Ulrichsweb directory or look at a journal's webpage to determine annual subscription costs, or use the Directory of Open Access journals to find journals that are free to readers (they may require authors to pay publishing charges). Not all journals will provide cost information; you can contact the journal to ask if it's not disclosed.