You have completed your research, collected your data and information, and written your paper, but what’s next?
Publications are the primary metric for your success as a researcher. Ergo, a researcher’s ultimate aim is to publish his work in a high-impact and peer-reviewed scholarly journal. One major impediment in that process is improper journal selection or submission to a wrong journal. To avoid that mistake, you need to consider some key factors.
Peer-Reviewed Journals vs. Predatory Journals
Journals with a peer-review approach have eminent subject experts on their editorial board who review and evaluate the submitted articles prior to acceptance for publication. Peer reviewers reject unscientific or poor-quality research articles by maintaining the integrity of a scholarly publisher.
On the contrary, predatory journals do not manage an honest and suitable peer-review approach. Most papers published in such journals are not only unscientific but raw, unformatted, and often half-cooked.
Hence, it is recommended to examine the nature of the journal you are targeting for your paper and stay away from predatory journals. This can be ascertained by checking the status of the journal or publisher in Jeffrey Beall’s list.
Scope of the Journal
You must verify the scope of the target journal. Even a remarkable, novel research work is likely to face rejection if the research topic doesn’t align with the scope of the journal. Hence, you must take some time to study the aim and scope of the journal, which are easily available on the journal’s website.
The quality of any journal is assessed based on the number of abstracting and indexing services that include that journal. Popular and reputed databases (SCOPUS, MEDLINE, SCI, etc.) that index the journals take several factors into consideration, such as the regularity (issue release frequency), type of review process (peer-reviewed or not), and reputation of the journal.
You can confirm whether your target journal is indexed in a database by visiting the following sites:
For SCOPUS: https://www.scopus.com/sources.uri
For MEDLINE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog
Journal Impact Factor
Impact factor (IF) of a journal is an indicator of the significance of a journal in its category (field). Though the journal impact factor is not associated with factors like quality of the peer review process and quality of the journal’s content, it is a significant benchmark to convey the average number of citations received by the articles published in the journal in a particular time period. IF can be calculated after completing at least three years of publication; that explains why IF cannot be calculated for new journals.
As the author, you must evaluate the potential of your paper with an unbiased approach before targeting a high impact factor journal. Submitting the paper to a high impact factor journal carries a higher risk of rejection. In the process, you also stand to lose valuable time and would need to reformat the paper for resubmission to a different journal. Hence, for new authors, it is recommended to adopt a balanced and realistic approach while choosing the best journal.