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Research Guides

Nuts & Bolts of Scholarly Publishing: Evaluating Journals: Fit

All you need to get started selecting journals for publication and reviewing author's agreements

Journal Fit

When evaluating a publication venue, consider how well your research fits with the journal and its audience.

Image of puzzle with one piece missing

Questions to consider when evaluating a journal for fit

Subject area: Does the disciplinary and topical focus of this journal align with your research?

Audience: Who would be most interested in your research, and are they reading this journal? Consider whether your research is more specialized, or of interest to the field as a whole, or interdisciplinary.

Methodology/article type: Is your research qualitative, quantitative, theoretical, or empirical research? Is it a case study, a data paper, a review article, a protocol? Check if the journal publishes this kind of research.

Turnaround time: If you’re in a hurry to publish, you may want to find a journal that has a faster review period. Typically, you can only submit to one journal at a time.

Funder policies: Your funder might care about where you publish and what the publisher will let you do with your article (such as deposit it in an open access repository). This might influence where you choose to publish your article.

Finding journals that fit your research

Try a "journal recommender" -- these are tools that analyze your paper (usually the title and abstract) and suggest journals that might fit your paper's subject area:


Subject databases in your area may list relevant journals indexed in the database. Doing a literature search on your topic within these databases can quickly orient you to relevant journals in your field.


Consult with your peers or advisors, faculty in your field, or your subject librarian.

Determining the fit of a particular journal

You've found a journal that looks promising -- great! Now what?

Carefully investigate journal’s website. Try sections called Aims and Scope, Instructions, Submissions, Information for Authors, etc. You may have to do some deep digging to find the information you need.

Look through archived articles in the journal to see what kind of work they publish. How well does your research fit with this body of work?

If you need to consider whether the journal publisher policies align with your funder’s requirements, use these tools:


This guide and the accompanying workshop materials were created by Rochelle Lundy and Julia Hon, University of Washington iSchool class of 2018.