Choosing the right journal for your publication is the first and most critical step in the process. It is well accepted that one of the key reasons for journal rejection is the wrong choice of journal. Most authors want to get published in reputed journals with high impact factors. However, it is more the suitability of the research with the target audience of the journal that matters; and this is where correct choice becomes important.
Here are some tips for choosing the right journal
Avoid Predatory Publishers: Today most authors are flooded with offers of publication from dubious agencies known as predatory publishers. The best way to avoid such spurious publications is by researching up on the standard identifiers like ISSN or DOIs. Most spurious publishers do not bother with such identifiers or do not use them properly. A bit of online research on the publication will reveal which are genuine and which are not.
Check the scope of the journal: Understand the exact scope or target audience of each journal. Some are traditional while others try to be avant-garde, some may focus on the very narrow focus areas, some may be interested in only theoretical content, some may only publish articles on a certain specialization, etc. Just choosing a journal based on the subject area or title is a mistake.
Check your message: A critical component for selecting the right journal is matching your content to its scope. For that, get clarity on your content. What are the research focus and the question you are trying to answer? What is the key message your article is to convey? What is your target audience? What is a type of peers you are trying to reach out to with your scientific paper? These are some questions that need to be aligned with the journals before choosing one.
Check timelines: Today, open access journals are becoming popular because they have a much faster turnaround time, as compared to more conventional peer-reviewed ones that often take months. If you are trying to quickly share some results of your research via a scientific paper to the larger community before it is too late or you suspect someone else may do it before you, perhaps it makes more sense to go for an open-access journal.
Consult your peers: It is best to discuss with your peers, colleagues, or supervisor for the right kind of journal. Those associated with the field have their own ideas and knowledge of the relevant journals in their field and you can help yourself based on the collective understanding of your peers and colleagues. They can also give valuable tips as to recent publications on the area of your research, the new emerging journals you were not aware of, the type of specialization some journals are looking for, etc.
Check with the journals: Some journals invite queries from authors, while do note that some others do not. For those open to author queries, it makes sense to touch base once with the editor before you submit your article as to whether they are interested in the type of scientific paper you are planning to write.