Choosing Where to Publish Your Article

Many factors go into determining where to submit an article for publication. Depending on your discipline, the fields of study related to your article, the stage of your career, and your overall goals for publishing, different journals may be right or you. For example, given the need to submit to just one journal at a time, your likelihood of having the paper accepted may be a critical factor if your research is particularly time-sensitive or if your field expects a certain number of published articles within a certain timeframe.

Consider the following journal selection criteria for those most important for your situation:


  • Evaluate the journal’s published scholarship, based on your subject knowledge
  • Publisher and publication history
    • Who publishes the journal? A professional body? A commercial entity?
    • How consistently and regularly has the journal been published? Journals that do not adhere to their publication schedules may have trouble attracting appropriate content or have a disorganized production process.
  • Editorial board
    • Who is on the editorial board?
    • Do they serve on the boards of professional societies/commercial publications?
    • Are they well-known/respected in your field?
  • Peer review process
    • What type of peer review process does the journal use? Single-blind: editor and reviewers know who the author is. Double-blind: editor knows who the author is. Triple-blind: editor and reviewers don’t know who the author is, and the reviews are anonymous. Open: author knows who reviewers are and vice versa.
    • How long does it take for your paper to be accepted? Published online? Published in print? The length of time may be an indication of the organization of the production process, or perhaps a dearth of quality submissions. A very short review time can also be a sign of a predatory publisher. If your article is published online sooner, that means more exposure, sooner, for your article.

Note: Prestige is often mistaken for quality. Prestige is characterized by age, impact, circulation, and recognition by the community (authors, readers, libraries, and promotion and tenure committees). Many high-prestige journals are often subscription-based and closed access; open access journals, even though they may be of equal or higher quality to other journals in their fields, may be considered of lower prestige because they are simply newer.


  • Does the journal publish research that is relevant to your work?
  • Article type
    • Does the journal the type of article that you want to write?
  • Audience
    • Who reads the journal? Is this the audience that you want to read your work?


  • Exposure and discoverability
    • Where is the journal indexed? Look for major databases, such as Web of Science or PubMed, or databases commonly used in your discipline.
  • Open access
    • Is the journal open or closed access? Open access can mean a wider readership and greater discoverability. The full text of your article will also likely be indexed by Google Scholar.
    • If the journal is open access, how is it funded? If the journal is funded by article processing charges, how would you pay for it?
    • If the journal is closed access, does it have an open access option?
  • Preservation policy (long-term access)
    • Does the journal provide electronic backup and preservation of access to its published content? Look for references to CLOCKSS, LOCKSS, or Portico.


  • Copyright policy
    • What is the journal’s copyright policy? Can you retain some or all of your rights? If you transfer your copyright, you may not be able to do things like reproduce or distribute your article.
  • Licensing policy
    • Is your article published under a license? How does the license allow users to use your work? Look for use of Creative Commons licenses.
  • Self-archiving policy
    • What rights do you as an author have to archive different versions of your work (pre-print, post-print, published version)? You might want to archive your work in our UW-Madison’s institutional repository MINDS@UW, a disciplinary repository, a scholarly website like, or a personal website to improve the discoverability of your work and build your online scholarly presence.
  • Find publisher copyright and self-archiving policies in the Sherpa/RoMEO database.


  • What impact does the journal have in the field, as calculated using metrics, such as Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, CiteScore?
    • See the libraries information page on Research Impact for explanations of metrics.
  • How does the journal help you to measure the impact of your research on your field? Does it provide altmetrics (social media engagement)? Does it provide download data?

This resource is adapted from the BU Libraries Digital Scholarship Services resource “How to Choose Where to Publish” which is covered by a CC BY 4.0 license.