After crafting a manuscript, the next step is to find a suitable journal to publish it. Getting a manuscript published in the high-quality & reputed journal is considered to be a milestone in the research journey. Although publishing in journals is a lengthy and tedious process, it is a rewarding procedure as it makes the research available to the research community, advances knowledge and validates the study. However, to achieve this, it is a must for a scholar to get his/her manuscript to get published in a suitable journal.
As per a report, in recent times, about 34,000 journals fall into the peer-reviewed category. Choosing the most suitable journal from the pool of journals is similar to picking the needle from a haystack. While early-career researchers may remain unfamiliar with the ideal journals in their field, experienced authors may opt to choose in the same journals irrespective of the new journals in their field of study.
Below are some of the pitfalls to look for while choosing a journal for publishing your manuscript.
- No standard identifiers – Check for identifiers such as ISSNs, DOIs, CODEN, etc. Many journals whose sole purpose is to make money do not have identifiers. Some times journals do have identifiers but are unaware as to how to use it. While looking for journals, Google for ISSN or journal-title and look for scams. If the identifiers are not present or scammers have been mentioned in many forums, then avoid such publications.
- Wide scope of the journal – Scholarly peer-reviewed journals remain more focused on a specific topic of study. For example, Mediterranean politics published by Taylor and Francis focuses on studies pertaining to the “international relations & contemporary politics in the Mediterranean sea”. However, if the ‘aims and scope’ of a journal suggests that you can publish any topic pertaining to academics or a combination of two or more unrelated topics, then it is wise to choose some other journal.
- Zero transparency – International journals, especially open-access include article processing charges (APS). The journals will reveal the chargeable fee, and the amount is payable when the journal has completed the process peer-reviewing, copyediting and has accepted for publication. However, some journals do not reveal the APS beforehand, and though they reveal, they won’t mention the precise amount. Also, some journals would require the author to transfer and retain the copyrights to the journal.
- Journal is not well-indexed – Reputed journals are widespread and are easily found in databases such as Google scholar searches, Ingenta, EBSCOHost, etc. Such journals are also well-indexed and are recommended by peer groups. Some of the journals which are known for well-indexed are SCOPUS, the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Web of Science, WorldCat, etc. If the target journal is not listed in DOAJ, etc. then go for some other journals.
- Low impact factor – Although many factors determine the rating of the journal, the impact factor remains the default factor for measuring the validity of a journal. If the impact factor is not high, then publishing manuscripts in such journals will add value neither to your career nor to the research community. Also, check for the online presence of the journal. That is, the existence of dead links, unlicensed images, ads, and misspellings are signs of the non-credible publisher.
- Reduced turnover time – Besides checking for the time taken by the journal to provide a response, perform peer review and publish the manuscript, look for the number of manuscripts published in a year. If the journals publish manuscripts annually, then the publishing count remains low. Also, note that the journals with the long wait time, have a higher rejection rate due to huge submission volume.
With over 9,500 journals alone in Directory of Open Access Journals, choosing the best fit for your manuscript can be daunting. Keep in mind the scope, restrictions and impact factor of the journal and ensure smooth submission & publication.