Author: Rafael Repiso – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

The selection of journals, in order of trying to publish our work in them, is a process that can be done proactively or reactively. Like everything in life, proactivity is always recommended, allowing planning from the first moment and therefore a natural adaptation of the content (our work) to the medium (the journal). But beware; we do not research to publish in a certain journal. The research process is due to the objectives / results, not the medium in which they were communicated, something quite secondary. What definitely does not make sense is to investigate something knowing a priori that nobody would publish it to us.

Why proactivity? The researcher, when he is supposed to be an expert in the research area, knows from the beginning the main magazines, authors and related works. This knowledge improves the performance of your work and the quality of your results since when you research and write, think proactively that:

Your article is going to be compared with the main works of the area, therefore, a relation is expected, of theoretical continuity or even of rupture and of course a similar level of quality (complexity and depth)

  1. Your work will be read by the main researchers in the area, therefore, it is advisable to “adapt” the manuscript thinking about those who will read it, its characteristics, levels of exigency, and put it in relation to the contributions of the authors.
  2. Your work will be published in one of the journals that usually publish on his subject, that is why he must know what are its norms, characteristics, requirements and “likes”, as well as the works that have been published, in such a way that from the outset the author adapt the wording to the usual requirements of the core of journals.

So, where to post? The most obvious and simple answer is, “we will try to have our work published in those journals whose work we have used.” This is because, logically, our work will be well adapted to them. For this, a good exercise is the revision of our bibliography, in order to identify which sources we quote most frequently. However, we must also take into account other aspects:

Regarding to the characteristics of our work, the choice of a journal can be determined by:

  1. Thematic. Thematic is the first criterion for the selection of a journal. In principle, we will try to publish in those journals of high specialization in our area, because it is where best place will have our works. However, we can also do it in “broad spectrum” journals, the major area journals. The last resource would be those known as multidisciplinary journals.
  2. Methodology. If our work uses a striking research methodology or suggests some progress in the methodological field, we could also try to publish in journals thematically the methodology itself, for example the REDES magazine that publishes works of multiple areas whose common element is Sociometry.
  3. Object of Study. The object of study can also determine the environment in which a paper is going to be published, since there are specialized journals in geographic areas or a certain part of the population. A clear example is the studies of women. A paper titled “Analysis of Social Networks of women in positions of responsibility in Spanish universities” could be published in a journal of Education (main subject), a methodology journal on Sociometry (Methodology) or a journal of Gender Studies (Object study).

However, there are other aspects of our manuscripts that will influence the selection of journals:

  1. We must publish in those journals that usually read the target audience of our work. If, for example, we publish a paper on the Spanish community of Education, the ideal would be to publish in a national magazine written in Spanish, or in any case Ibero-American. What is certain is that if we try to publish in an Anglo-Saxon magazine we will have less possibilities and, in addition, if it is accepted, it is possible that we are not read by potentially interested people. One publishes them to read, not to Evaluate.
  2. Papers have different grades of expiration and this is a risk that can make a job never be published. If we have a paper and know that it is possible that in a year is no longer interesting, we must prioritize the choice of magazines with rapid evaluation processes, so that, in the case of being rejected, we have room to send it to another magazine. Best works tend to have a high expiration, since they pretend to study current phenomena and compete with those of other researchers (the scientific fashion).

Regarding to the characteristics of the journals themselves, we must take into account:

  1. Scientific Impact. Impact Factor journals are those indexed in the Web of Science Journal Citation Reports. They are considered the best magazines in the world in each area. The mere fact of publishing an article in them is a merit recognized by research agencies. From the point of view of scientific evaluation is the gold standard.
  2. Indexing in Databases. The first function of this indexation is to increase the diffusion of the papers; nevertheless there is a second, evaluative role, which indicates that the best journals are present in the most demanding databases, since they are able to comply with first-order evaluative processes order. There are generic databases (Web of Science, Scopus, Latindex) or specialized by area (MLA, Philosopher Index, Mass & Communication Search, etc.).
  3. Scientific prestige. In principle, a good magazine is headed by a good researcher. For that reason, a simple analysis of the research career of the editorial team will give us a reliable approximation of the scientific quality of the journal.
  4. Editorial Prestige. It is very important to know the editorial behind the magazines, economic solvency, specialization, editorial professionalization, etc. This is the guarantor of the quality of the processes, the selection of the technical equipment and the continuity of the same. For example, we know that any journal published by the American Psychological Association will be a consistent product.
  5. History of the Journal. The age of the journal is already very indicative, we will try to publish in journals that we assume consolidated. Likewise, the analysis of its history allows us to see if it is a journal with progression, fulfillment of periodicity, etc.
  6. Formal requirements. Logically, we have to verify that our work is able to fulfill the formal requirements demanded by the journals (extension of the document, number of figures, number of authors, style of citation, etc.).
  7. The periodicity as already mentioned is fundamental, the authors are interested in publishing in journals that declare and commit themselves with reasonable evaluation times.
  8. Rights of authors. Another aspect to consider should be the rights of the author. Usually, authors have the right to, once the works have been published, to store their works in their personal pages and in scientific repositories, in order to help disseminate them, however, not all journals allow it, this is why that it is important to know the copyright policies of magazines. A good tool to get to know is Sherpa Romeo

We began by talking about proactivity and reactivity. When the decision on which magazines to send the work is taken at the end of the creation of the same, in a reactive way, we are tied hand and foot, since, at the last moment, the characteristics of our work will be an impediment that will determine especially the selection of headers, closing many doors. No successful company makes a product without taking into account that the consumers are or the characteristics of the market and its distribution channels..

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