How to find the right journal?

You completed your research, and now, it is time to find the most suitable peer-reviewed journals for your article. This step is frequently skipped by many researchers, and they immediately start writing their study with great enthusiasm. There are several downsides to this approach, and we will be covering some of them in this post.

Who is your target audience?

Knowing your target audience is one of the first things that you need to do. Do you want to reach only field experts? Is your paper includes very specific information or results on a topic? If your answer is “yes,” then you should look for more specific journals. If your answer is “no,” then you should search for more general journals. Is your manuscript about education-related more than emergency medicine? If your answer is “yes,” go for education journals first. If your answer is “no,” emergency medicine journals may be interested. So, decide which group of readers is more suitable for your manuscript. Do not forget; the journal is just a connection/bridge between your results/message and readers. And, you want to pass the correct bridge to reach them. Submitting the manuscript to an unsuitable journal is a common mistake and knowing your target audience is the first step to avoid this error. 

Emergency Medicine Journal List

You can find various sources listing current Emergency Medicine journals. For example, WikEM listed only 7 Emergency Medicine journals. Some of the popular ones such as the European Journal of Emergency Medicine is not listed here.

However, Scimago Journal & Country Rank website gives the full list of the Emergency Medicine related journals with a wide range. Currently, 78 journals are listed in Emergency Medicine category.

Which journal is right for your manuscript?

To decide, you should ask yourself some questions.

  • First, your readings: which articles did you read before you design your study? Which journals were those articles published? It is possible that the same journals may be interested more in your manuscript.
  • Second, look for the first and corresponding authors in similar articles. Did they publish similar topic frequently, and where?
  • Third, databases! There are many databases you can use to find your target journals. Google scholar probably has the most coverage of journals, publications. However, it provides a non-specific search. PubMed is one of the well-known databases mainly focuses on the medical field. So, it is a good starting point to find similar articles and their journals. The SCOPUS, however, has sections that help us to find possible journals. In addition to these search engines, a couple of other websites can help us. JANE: Journal Author Name Estimator (http://jane.biosemantics.org/) and JOURNAL GUIDE (https://www.journalguide.com/) are two of them.

SCOPUS provides multiple and easy to use filters to find journals. In the below example, I entered undergraduate, emergency medicine, medical school, medical student, curriculum, curricula keywords to SCOPUS and here are the results. On the left side, you see the filters.

One of the filters give you the journal list according to your keywords. These journals published most of the articles related to your search.

As you can see above, we found Academic Emergency Medicine, Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Annals of Emergency Medicine,  Journal of Emergency Medicine and BMC Medical Education journals, and number of published articles related to our search terms.

You can also click the analyze search results button, and you can see visual diagrams summarizing the search.

This page gives you information about authors, institutions, countries, sponsors which may help you to define a suitable journal. It also helps for your future research and collaborations.

In JANE platform, you can add your title, keywords or your full abstract and search for relevant journals, articles or authors. 

As a example, I enter the same keywords to see the results.

As you see, JANE listed journals with the highest confidence and influence. Academic Emergency Medicine, Medical Teacher, and BMC Medical Education are the top three journals publishing manuscripts including our keywords. Let’s see the articles published in the first journal.

In 8 years, Academic Emergency Medicine published three articles. However, one of them may not be what we are looking for according to its’ title. And, one important point, Academic Emergency Medicine has a new journal called AEM Education and Training. So, they recently started to publish these type of articles in their second journal. Knowing this type of details can be impossible for all journals, but it is important when you try to find the correct journal.

Journal Guide also has similar interface.

I entered the same keywords to Journal Guide.

If you click the first journal (Annals of Emergency Medicine), you will see more details about the journal. There is a lot information on the page below such as publication speed which we will be discussing in the following section.

If you click matches link, then you will see those articles as a list.

In addition to SCOPUS, JANE, and Journal Guide, “find my journal” and “SJFinder” can be other options. 

So, you have multiple online options to search for the best suitable journal for your research area. I recommend you to look for all and evaluate each of them carefully to reach the desired result.

Evaluate The Journals

You have found potential journals, and now you should evaluate them. This step will help you to define suitable journals to submit.

Scope

In the evaluation process, the first thing you look for is “scope” of the journals in your list. Are the journals publishing articles similar to your topic or type? You have to know and particularly look for this because being out of the scope of the journal is the number one reason to be rejected. Luckily, many of the journals share the scope on their websites (see below). Scimago Journal & Country Rank also provides the information about scope.

If the journal’s scope is overlapping with yours, then you should look to the recent years about related articles. Searching for the last five years will be fine. However, do not forget that the recent is the better because journal scopes and type of the published articles (review, research, editorial, special issues, etc.) may change in time or when their editors change.

Indexing

Another important information is where these journals are indexed. Web of Science, SCOPUS, Medline, Pubmed are some of the prestigious indexes that you can trust. Publishing articles in journals indexed in these platforms increase the visibility, download, and citation of your article. You can find this information on the journal websites. I searched Web of Science, and found a 14 Emergency Medicine journals in this prestigious index. First ten journals are listed below.

Publication Model - Open Access or Not

After all these steps, you should also know the publication model of the journals. There is an increasing trend of open access journals. The advantage of these journals are authors keep the copyright of their paper, figure and table numbers are less limited, no registration required to reach or download the article which increases accessibility. One of the major downsides of these journals is the article-processing charge (APC). This price may range between 1000 – 2000 USD per article. Please do not forget that there are many journals called PREDATOR JOURNALS asking APC. Although some websites are listing these journals and updating their list regularly, being in prestigious indexes is considered as a safety belt because indexes are looking two to five years publication periods of these journals for many details. So, being in prestigious indexes is not easy. The journal has to provide transparent information for their quality on editorial, evaluation and publishing processes.

Please check the Scimago Journal & Country Rank website and look for this sign. 

Publication speed

Publication speed is another essential information about journals you should consider. This is basically from submission to first decision or publication time. The shorter is the better. Although time period is directly related to the quality of the submitted manuscript, average decision or publication times give handy information about the editorial and evaluation process of the journal. However, it is not easy to find this information. Some journals may show this information on their website but still locate them in hidden areas.

Impact Factor

If you realize that I have not mention about impact factor of the journal yet. Of course, when you complete the writing, you want to start from a high impact journal first. Acceptance in a high impact journal depends on how novel your finding is and its potential help to improve the field. If your manuscript is a repetition and has a relatively incremental effect on the field, high impact journals will probably reject your paper. It is changing field to field, but high impact journals have less than 10% acceptance rate.

Above table gives the impact factors of Emergency Medicine journals in 2014. 

Submission Strategy

After all these steps, now it is time to decide a submission strategy, defining first, second, and third journals. Choosing multiple journals with similar manuscript format and writing your manuscript according to their guidelines will shorten your reformatting time if your manuscript is rejected. When you write, it is better to keep manuscript under the word, figure, table, reference limits. 

Selected Journal Submission List

JournalsWord LimitAbstract Word LimitFigure/Table LimitReference Limit
Journal 14000350730
Journal 23500300425
Journal 35000250540
Journal 43500200630
Journal 54500300730

Above table includes 5 different journals. For your convenience in the reformatting process, it is better that you choose the minimum numbers to fit all. For example, if your target journals are those in the above table, your manuscript should have 3500 words, abstract: 200 words, figure and tables: 4, and references: 25. 

You should also keep some backup journals in case of rejection from all selected journals. New journals can be an option because they have a higher acceptance rate than old ones. However, they probably are not in prestigious indexes yet. In this point, it is better to learn whether this journal applied for those indexes. If the answer is yes, then it is worth submitting. There are also “mega journals” which publish a wide range of researches, and they have a wide range of readers. As a result, their impact factors are high. Some examples of these journals are PlusOne, Scientific Reports, Cureus, etc.

What is next?

If your manuscript is still rejected after all measures you consider above, do not think that this is a waste of time. Your research can always be valuable and available to others. This topic is discussed in “You have done everything, but your paper can still be rejected!” chapter.

References and Further Reading

  • Sarah Conte. Choosing the right journal for your research. Retrieved from: https://www.aje.com/arc/choosing-right-journal-your-research/ Date: May 4th, 2019.
  • Enado Academy. How to find the right journals to publish papers. Retrieved from: https://www.enago.com/academy/how-to-find-the-right-journal-to-publish-paper/ Date: May 4, 2019.

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