Navigating Academic Publishing: How to Choose Target Journals

Choosing the right journal for your academic research can significantly impact the reach and recognition of your work. The traditional method to choose the target journal is the recommendation by the mentor or more senior collaborator(s), which is a good way. In case you would love to navigate this proceee by yourself, this blog post will guide you through using the Journal Citation Reports and journal recommenders.

1. Journal Citation Reports (JCR)

Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is sourced from the Web of Science Core Collection, a premier citation index. It covers over 11,500 titles from the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), released annually​​. Here are some metrics that might be useful for you to understand the impact of the journal in the field.

  • Impact Factor: The Journal Impact Factor measures how often an average article in a journal is cited in a particular year. It helps evaluate or compare a journal’s importance relative to others in the same field​​. The calculation involves dividing the number of times articles were cited by the number of articles that are citable​​. The numerator of the Impact Factor considers citations in a particular JCR year to a journal’s content from the previous two years. The denominator accounts for the number of citable items (like articles and reviews) published in the journal in those two years​​.
  • Immediacy Index: This metric indicates how frequently the average article from a journal is cited within the same year of publication, useful for evaluating journals publishing cutting-edge research​​.
  • Quartiles and Percentiles: Journals are ranked in quartiles and percentiles within their categories based on the Impact Factor. For instance, a journal in the first quartile (Q1) performs better than at least 75% of journals in its category​​.

By accessing via your institution (e.g., NYU access link), you can search the list of journals by searching for the subject or category. The results show the list of journals by descending order of impact factor with quartiles (Q1-Q4) in the subject.

By clicking the journal title, you can also browse the information of the journal, such as the most cited articles, the trend of journal impact factors in the past 5 years, the percentage of open access articles, contributions by organizations, and the contribution by country/region.

2. Journal Recommenders

Journal recommenders are online tools that help researchers find suitable journals for their manuscripts. They compare manuscript details like titles, abstracts, keywords, or subject areas with journals’ aims, scopes, and impact factors​​. There are journal recommenders by the publishers and others.

Tip. Checking Review Times and Reviews by Authors

When you’re on a tight schedule for publishing your paper, it’s also advisable to check the journal’s official website to find the information on the 1) average time for decision and 2) acceptance rate. Many journals provide metrics about their average time for decision-making and acceptance rates. This information can be crucial for authors who need to get their papers published as soon as possible.

Since not all journals provide the information, there are several websites to share the information among researchers. First, SciRev offers detailed information about the scientific review process for various journals. Each journal on SciRev has its own page where researchers can find data about the duration and quality of the review process, provided by other researchers. This platform allows users to compare journals on several aspects, including the duration of the first review round, decision time for desk rejections, total handling time of accepted manuscripts, journal popularity score, and the overall quality of the review process​​​​. Second, Academic Accelerator also provides the similar information with SciRev.


How to find the right journal for your research (using actual data) – Clarivate

  • December 18, 2023