Much of this information was adapted from:
Farley Library Research Guides
Belk Library and Information Commons
This is a common question! Consider the following tips when deciding where to submit your work:
Choose a journal that is realistically within reach. Yes, the top-tier journals with high impact factors look great on your CV, but those journals may not be interested in your topic and receive many submissions. A journal's impact factor is only one measure of its reputation. You should consider the size of the journal's readership and whether the journal generally publishes articles in your sub-discipline or on your topic. Objectively consider how important your research is and what level and/or type of journal it is best suited for; otherwise, you may find yourself wasting valuable time submitting to one journal after another.
Choose a journal that specializes in your sub-area. With the proliferation of specialized and interdisciplinary journals, consider a journal that is especially geared toward your niche area. If your research is applied, you should target a journal that publishes applied science; if it is clinical, you should target a clinical journal; if it is basic research, you should target a journal that publishes basic research. Those journals are more likely to reach your target audience.
Choose a journal that permits self-archiving. Many journal publishers now allow authors to post the final version on the author’s website and/or institutional repository such as DigitalHub. Check the Sherpa/Romeo website to see if a journal permits self-archiving, or Transpose, which provides more information on preprint policies of journals: licensing restrictions on preprints, whether an author can cite preprints in the references, etc. It is important to have the option to make your work open access to other scholars. Studies have shown that articles that are open access are more highly cited.
Become familiar with the publisher's publishing model. Some publishers have varied their submission models. One example is BMJ Case Reports. A Galter institutional subscription (fellowship) enables Northwestern authors to not pay individual article processing charges for accepted articles in BMJ Case Reports. Note: There is an extra fee to make the accepted article immediately open access (to non-subscribers); all reports are made openly available in PubMed Central after a 24 month embargo. For more information about publishing in BMJ Case Reports and the information needed at article submission, contact the Galter reference team or Galter's liaison librarians.
More on case report journals: Akers, K.G. New journals for publishing medical case reports. JMLA. J Med Libr Assoc. 2016 Apr;104(2):146-9. PMID: 27076803; PMC4816468.
Contributions and Attributions
Many questionable journals send invitations to publish in future issues or serve on editorial boards. Before submitting an article or agreeing to a seat on an editorial board, investigate the reputation and legitimacy of the journal.
Fortunately, opportunistic journals are detectable.
*Charging authors/funding bodies to publish articles open access is a model used by many reputable journal publishers and is not the single factor used to determine if a journal should be considered "predatory."
Be suspicious of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members. “If you get an invitation through email, be extremely suspicious,” says Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver “Most high-quality journals don’t go looking for editorial boards through email.”
There are a couple of ways you can tell if a journal is peer-reviewed: