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Quick Reference for the Health Sciences

Make Your Research Impactful!

Choosing the right journal will help create greater impact for your research!

Submitting a manuscript to an unsuitable journal is a common mistake. It can be frustrating and time consuming when a paper is not accepted for publication. It is worthwhile to spend some time finding the right journal for your work.

When choosing a journal consider the following:

  • Aim & Scope
  • Readership
  • Peer Review Process
  • Acceptance Rate/Prestige
  • Level of Influence
  • Availability/Reach

Following this guide will help you make the right choice for your research!

The University of Colorado Libraries have an excellent tutorial called Publish, Not Perish: the art and craft of publishing in scholarly journals

Usually, before writing your manuscript, you'll need to undertake a literature review. Librarians at Dalhousie can help with this. Please contact a librarian in your subject area.

Consider Aim & Scope

How to determine a journal's Subject Scope

  • Find out where others in the field/area are publishing. Search a database in your subject area and find articles on a topic similar to yours and note the journal titles.

  • Look at the journal's aim and scope statements.

  • Find out the types of articles that the journal usually publishes in the About page or in their Author Guidlines.

  • Take a key paper in the field and see what journals appear in the bibliography.

Consider Readership

How to determine a journal's readership

  • Check with faculty members in your department for good journal candidates

  • Who is the publisher? (consider university presses, professional associations) 

  • Check the target readership in the About section of the journal/website.

Consider Peer Review Process

Consider how Peer-Review is completed

High quality Journals are always peer-reviewed or refereed.

  • Check the journal's website to determine how peer-review is done 

    • Is it double-blind? Open?
  • Does it complete the peer-review process in a timely manner?

Consider the Acceptance Rate/Level of Prestige

Look at your chosen journal acceptance rate

Generally, journals with lower acceptance rates are more prestigious.

  • Google the journal nameAcceptance rates for journals can often be found on their home pages.

Consider Influence

Compare how journals rank in comparison to other journals

Use the JCR link to search for your chosen journals and find their impact factors. Includes an explanation on how impact factor are calculated.

Find a Journal's Eigenfactor Score and Article Influence Score by searching These scores use Journal Citation Reports data to measure a journal's importance to the scientific community and the impact of its articles.

SCImago Journal Rank Indicator (SJR) indicates the influence of the average article from the journal. SCImago was developed from information in the Scopus database. Also provides h - index scores.

Consider Availability/Reach

Indexing and Distribution can influence a journal's availability.

Widely indexed journals will increase the likelihood your article is found.  

  • - In addition to influence, this site also displays the cost of prices and measures its effectiveness.
  • Ulrich's Web - ​​Find out if the journal is indexed in major databases in your field. Find where journals are indexed using 


Open Access (OA)

Consider publishing in an Open Access journal. Or perhaps in Dalhousie's Institutional Repository, if the journal allows you to do so

  • Does the copyright or licensing agreements allow you to work as you would like?
  • SPARC - Learn how and why this international organization is making Open Access an academic publishing norm​​
  • Open Access (Wiki) - Learn more about Open Access Publishing on this wiki
  • BioMedCentral - A list of Open Access journals within the biomedical field


Predatory Publishers

Did you know that some publishing companies exist only to garner fees from authors? Known as predatory publishing, these pseudo-journals exist to exploit the good intentions of authors trying to publish in Open Access journals.

Publishing Resources

This not-for-profit organization advocates for Canadian authors

This organization promotes ethics in publishing

This brief article outlines 5 important things for getting published