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Finding a suitable journal

What do I look for when choosing a journal?

The question of a suitable journal cannot be answered in a general way and depends on your individual and professional requirements as well as on the requirements of your research institution or funding body.

Many authors choose a journal that they know from their scientific environment. If you choose a journal in which your colleagues choose to publish, the journal's subject scope will probably also suit your manuscript. At the same time, by publishing in a journal that is relevant to your field, you ensure a certain visibility in your discipline.

It is also advisable to read any requirements of your institution or funding conditions of research projects. Many research funders require that research results from the projects they fund to be published in open access. You can quickly and easily look up the funding conditions of research funding bodies in the Sherpa Juliet database, and you can find quality-checked open-access journals in the DOAJ databaseDirectory of Open Access Journals.

If high-quality peer review is important to you, we recommend using databases that review journals for quality, such as Scopus, Web of Science, and DOAJ.

Are publication costs a hurdle? For a publication in a quality-checked journal without publication charges, we recommend you to find fee-free journals in the DOAJ database using the filter “Without article processing charges (APCs).”

How can I recognise a reputable journal?

Journals are considered trustworthy or reputable if they assure the quality of their articles through a peer review process. Since the peer review process of most journals is not publicly available, distinguishing a reputable journal from a dubious one is often challenging.

Some databases check the review process of a journal before it is included (e.g., Scopus, Web of Science, and DOAJ). Indexing a journal in such a database is a good indication that it is a reputable journal.

If you are still unsure if it is a reputable journal, answering the Think.Check.Submit checklist will help. We also recommend that you ask your peers or librarians for their opinion.

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