EDEP 5184: Choosing a Journal

Finding which journals might publish your research

When it comes to choosing a journal where you could potentially publish, it can be challenging to narrow down your options. One way to begin finding journals where your work might fit is to look at which journals publish information related to your topic. If you're doing exploratory searching in Discovery Search (demonstrated on the first page of this guide) or other databases, you will generally have the option just to the left of the results list to limit by a particular journal: 

screenshot of journal limiter

Clicking "Show More" will give you a full list. Looking over the list of journals will give you a sense of where research on your topic has been published, and you can look further into those journals to see if any of them are a fit for you. 

Finding an appropriate journal

Once you've identified a few journals that might be a potential fit for your article, you can explore them more deeply to find out their scope, acceptance rates, metrics, etc. A simple Google search of the journal's title, in quotation marks (" "), will often get you to the journal's homepage, where you can read about their scope and aim. It's also where you're likely to find the instructions for authors as well. 

Another option to learn about a journal is Cabell's, a database. Cabell's provides information about social science journals, listing their scope, publishing frequency, acceptance rate, and type of peer review, as well as other relevant information. The database no longer lists impact factors, but it does rank journals according to its own ranking system. You can access Cabell's here: 

Once you're in Cabell's, you can search for the title in the main search box, and you can also use the filters below the search box to find journals based on various criteria. 

screenshot of Cabell's search box

Cabell's maintains two lists of journals: the whitelist and the blacklist. Problematic list names aside, journals on the whitelist have met certain criteria and are not considered exploitive (an exploitive journal might be one that makes authors pay exorbitant fees to be published but then don't conduct peer review of any sort. That's a sign of a low-quality journal.). Not finding a journal in Cabell's does not mean that it's a bad journal, but you'll want to take a close look at that journal's publication practices to make sure it's not exploitive. VT does not subscribe to Cabell's blacklist.