Author: Ángel Hernando – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion. Universidad Nacional de Loja, Ecuador

Once the elaboration of the manuscript is finished, the last step to make our research known is to try to publish the results in a scientific journal. The choice of the most appropriate journal to which to send our article in order to try to publish it is of the utmost importance because, although the work done is good, if it is not done correctly the possibility of being published is reduced.

Below are a number of clues that may help in choosing the most appropriate journal for our work. Before starting with these, remember, as we have indicated in another post from the School of Authors, the advice to flee from fraudulent or predatory journals

  • First of all, it is necessary to consult the thematic coverage of the magazine and the type of contributions it publishes. To do so, there is nothing better than reviewing the magazine’s website where, if it is correctly done, we will find most of the aspects mentioned below. An element that facilitates this search for the subject matter is the fact that the magazine publishes monographs, with their respective calls to authors on different topics. To do this, it is convenient to be registered on the web and to follow up on the calls of the magazines in our field that may be the subject of our submissions.
  • It is also important to remember the importance of checking some of the articles published by the journal, this will allow us to become familiar with the format, languages in which it publishes, structure of the works, methodologies used, etc. in addition to ensuring that we cannot overlook relevant works on the subject of our research that have been previously published in the journal. In short, to insist on the idea of having selected the possible journals in which we can publish our research, to read manuscripts from these journals, to be registered in their alert systems and to follow what is published in them.
  • Of course, it is essential to take into account where the journal is indexed and its impact factor (its importance depends, on many occasions, on the need we have to advance in our academic career or to obtain six-year degrees, since each specialty has its own requirements). We must manage to publish our work in the best possible place, but, although we recommend being optimistic when choosing, we must also be realistic. The quality of our research and the fact that it is local or international, we must take into account when “aiming” higher or lower since, obviously, all the research we do does not have the same quality and design.
  • It is also necessary to check the quartile in which the magazine is located and, especially, if it is in the fourth quartile. Even if we select a magazine by the Impact Factor, we must take into account its evolution. For example, if we send the work in 2020 it will probably be published in 2021, so the Impact Factor can vary, either upwards or downwards. Our advice is to avoid unexpected negative trends.
  • Another aspect that we have to control of the magazine is that it has published the times in its web page, that is to say, the existence of an estimation/disestimation, acceptance/rejection period. If the journal does not publish them, it will be difficult for us to follow up on the manuscript submitted for evaluation.
  • We also have to consider the frequency of publication of the journal, it is not the same if the journal publishes two issues a year with ten manuscripts (being biannual) than if it publishes three, four or twelve (being monthly). In order to have the same database and quartile, it is preferable to send our article to the journal that publishes the largest number of manuscripts per year and, in our opinion and for multiple reasons, avoid annual ones.
  •  It is also convenient to check the statistics section of the journals and, especially, the rejection rates (percentage of rejected manuscripts per issue) and acceptance rates (percentage of accepted manuscripts per issue) of these. The journals that are better positioned in the main databases (according to their Impact Factor) have harder and more demanding review processes and the reviews are usually carried out by experts in the area. We should not forget that they receive many more manuscripts so, maintaining the number of articles published per year, they are forced to reject many papers and do not usually have a “waiting queue” of articles to be published, but rather they close the process in each issue by accepting and publishing only the best papers and rejecting the rest. All this must be taken into account especially if we are in a hurry to publish our work.
  • Another clue is not to focus only on trying to publish in a specific field, for example, researchers in the field of education can publish in journals in that field, but also look for journals in related fields where they can publish their work, even if they are not in their specific area.

Finally, we advise, especially the younger researchers (the older ones have already been rejected on more than one occasion) the need to persevere in the attempt and not to let a manuscript be “put to sleep” when it is rejected in a journal. If the rejection is accompanied by the evaluation protocols of the reviewers and they have relevant recommendations, we advise to make the changes and improvements in the shortest time possible and choose, among the journals in our field that we have already selected, the next one to try again. The fact that our work is rejected does not always imply that it is not of sufficient quality (there are many excellent works that were rejected in the first instance and then published in high impact scientific journals), what it implies is that that journal does not consider our work relevant to be published at that time, what is needed is to look for another one in which our work does “fit”.

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