Field of Science

Choosing a journal for your manuscript

Listening to Bruce Dancik's #CSPPubTour12 talk yesterday about choosing a journal and submitting your manuscript got me thinking about issues he didn't emphasize.  I started with a few, but my list keeps getting longer and longer:

Likelihood of acceptance:  Do your subject, approach and results fit the mandate of the journal (is yours the kind of manuscript they’re looking for)?

Prestige for your CV:  How good is the journal's reputation?  How high is its impact factor?

Prestige for journalists:  Are papers from this journal often reported in the mainstream media?

Readership:  Does the journal cover a specialized topic or a broad area of science?  Which kind of audience are you writing for?

Ease of finding for readers:  Is the journal indexed by everything?  How well can you use keywords in the title and abstract to bring in readers from Google Scholar and other search engines?

Access to your article:  Does the journal provide immediate open access for all its papers?  Is this an option, for an extra charge?  Open access after 6 months or a year?  Subscription only?  If subscription access, how widely is it subscribed to?

Cost of publishing:  Are there page charges?  Optional or required publication charges for open access?  Charges for colour figures (only an issue for print journals)?

Limits on article length:  No limit?  Very tight?  Charges for extra pages?

Online supplementary materials:  Does the journal host these?  What are the limitations?

Copyright and licensing:  Must you sign away your rights?  Can others reuse your material (e.g. use your figures in teaching)?

Turnaround time:  Rapid pre-screening?  Total time from submission to publication?  Online early access?

Is this an ethical publisher?  Elsevier?  Other for-profit?  Society journal?  Predatory publisher (see Beall's list)?

Type of publication:  Online-only?  Print edition only?  Both?

Tiresomeness of Instructions to Authors:  Will getting your figures into the obscure required format force you to spend $500 on the full version of Photoshop?

Might the journal highlight your paper?  Does it include a News and Views or other section that highlights some papers in each issue?

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