Strategic publishing

Find out more about scholarly publishing, predatory publishers, author rights and open access.

How do you choose which journal to publish in?

Deciding which journal is the best place to publish your work will involve many different factors: audience, research area, need or desire to publish open access, among many other concerns.

There are a number of tools you can use when you have a list of preferred titles to help determine which might offer better chance of impact. This would never guarantee that your work would get citations, but you can see which journals might have more publications in the past that have received citations. This could indicate that the publication is well regarded by the discipline.

Listed below are a number of journal comparison resources available

Scopus Compare Journals

Scopus Compare Journals is a tool to analyse and compare journal performance across a range of citation metrics. The information in Compare Journals is derived from citation data in Scopus (Elsevier). Up to 10 journals can be compared. 

Compare Journals calculates:

SciVal Scopus Sources Comparison

Use the SciVal Scopus Source Benchmarking Report to compare 10 Scopus Sources and generate a report. 

Sign into SciVal by creating an account or use your Scopus credentials. Select the Overview module and click on the Scopus Sources option the bottom icon on the left. 

Search for a known title by clicking on Add Scopus Source. Click on the title and details about the publication will load in the main panel. This title will form the basis of the report. 

Click on Report from Template (top right) and select Scopus Source Benchmarking Report. Populate the report with more titles under Scopus Sources by typing in title keywords. Drag and drop up to 9 more selected titles into the box on the right. Click on Next step and change the report name if necessary.

Create the report. To view the report follow the link in the pop up window or go to the Reporting module. Parts of the report can be changed i.e. the date range and re-saved.

Export the report as a pdf file, save as a snapshot or share with a colleague. 

The report benchmarks the Scopus Sources on four metrics and provides an accompanying explanation.  

Web of Science Journal Impact Factor (JIF)

The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is available on the Web of Science core collection. Search for the journal by publication name and click on the title. Information provided is the most recently available and a five-year Impact Factor.

It is important to note that the JIF is a journal metric and should not be used to assess individual articles, researchers or institutions. 
Read more about the proper use of Journal Impact Factors

Scimago Journal Rank

Scimago Journal & Country Rank is a free source that provides scientific indicators for journals and countries. It is based on information contained in the Scopus database and some Web of Science content from 2018. Use the drop-down menus to focus a subject search. Each title has an individual page with information and related metrics.    

The Journal Rank uses the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR). 

CWTS Journal Indicators

The Leiden University's Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) Journal Indicators provides free access to bibliometric indicators on scientific journals. Indicators are available for over 20,000 journals and are based on the Scopus bibliographic database.  

CWTS uses the indicator SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) and IPP (Impact Per Publication). 

Google Scholar Top Publications

Google Scholar Metrics is a relatively new service from Google currently covering articles published in the last complete five calendar years. You can browse the top journals published in several languages and explore journals in research areas of your interest.

Journals are ranked by their five year H-index (h5-index, h5-core, and h5-median).


This book chapter provides expert guidance on selecting a journal, combined with a step-by-step workbook:  

  • Belcher, W. L. (2019). Week 4: Selecting a journal. In Writing your journal article in twelve weeks: A guide to academic publishing success (Second edition., pp. 110–149). The University of Chicago Press.
    • Instruction: Good news about journals. The importance of picking the right journal. Types of academic journals: nonrecommended, debatable, and preferred publishing outlets.
    • Your tasks: Finding suitable academic journals. Day 1, reading the workbook. Day 2, searching for journals. Days 3–4, evaluating academic journals. Day 5, reading relevant journals and writing query letters. 

 Those who most benefit from the book are (1) graduate students who want to publish an essay they wrote for the classroom or part of their master’s thesis, (2) doctoral candidates hoping to publish a chapter from their dissertation in progress, and (3) recent doctorates, junior faculty, and anyone else under pressure to publish for jobs or tenure.