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Library Research Support: Journal selection tools

Support for Research Staff & Research Students

Overview: Journal Selection Tools

This guide collects tools from both publishers and funders, which can be useful for authors looking to identify potential journals for submitting a manuscript to for publication. Authors may also find two other related guides of interest:

  1. This guide: Various tools authors can use to identify journals based on their own objectives, or the content of their manuscript.
  2. Publication Planning Guide: Guidance on the benefits and examples of publication plans which can help efficient publication to maximise potential benefits.
  3. Where to Publish Guide: Guidance for authors and research project managers to assist with identifying and shortlisting potential journals and publishers.

Journal Selection Tools

Journal Selection

This guide provides a range of third party tools you can use which may be helpful to identify potential journals for publishing your research.

Before identifying a journal, we would recommend you consider where your publication fits with any relevant publication plan for your research, and have identified what objectives your publication is intended to achieve, as well as any team, department, institutional or funder objectives or requirements you may need to take into account when considering where to publish.

Think. Check. Submit.

"Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications."

Think. Check. Submit. (

Publisher Tools: Web of Science

Web of Science is a multidisciplinary citation database, with several tools which can be useful for identifying journals for potential publication.

Web of Science: Master Journal List

Web of Science: Manuscript Matcher

Web of Science: Analyse Results

Whilst this video is not specifically about identifying journals for publication, you can use the 'Analyse Results' function demonstrated to identify which journals have published the most on a given topic recently.

Publisher Tools: Elsevier

The Global Academic Publisher Elsevier provides several tools which can be of use to identify suitable journals for publication.

Elsevier Journal Finder

Elsevier Journal Finder allows you to upload a manuscript abstract and title, and it will try to match this to relevant journals which may have published similar research.

It is worth noting that:

  • This tool is limited to Elsevier owned journals only (if you an academic who is currently boycotting publishing with, or providing  peer review or editorial services to Elsevier journals).
  • The journal finder does not support upload of text in TeX, html, MathML or LaTeX formats.

You can access Elsevier Journal Finder here.

Scopus: Analyse Results

Similar to Web of Science, if you use Scopus to search for documents matching certain keywords, you can use the services Analyze search results option to explore which authors are most proliferate in publishing in that field, and in which journals most articles are published in. Scopus is not limited to Elsevier-owned journals, and indexes over 19,000 journals, so can be a useful way to identify relevant journals if you are careful with your keyword selection.

You can access Scopus here.

For help with your search strategy construction, see our (Re) Search Skills guide here.

Scopus Analyse Results 1 of 2


Scopus analyse results 2 of 2


Publisher Tools: SpringerNature Journal Suggester

SpringerNature's Journal Suggester allows you to upload a manuscript abstract and title, and it will try to match this to relevant journals which may have published similar research.

Note that this tool will only search and match a manuscript to Springer and BMC Journals.

You can access the SpringerNature Journal Suggester here.

JANE (Journal / Author Name Estimator)

This free tool was created by researchers from the Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI), aimed primarily at those publishing in medicine, health, biosciences and related journals. It uses data from journals which have had articles published in PubMed over the previous year, matched against a title and/or abstract you can provide them, to identify potential journals for publication (or potential co-authors to collaborate with if in the early stages of a manuscript).

You can access JANE here.

JANE Journal / Author Name Estimator

It provides a freely available API for those who wish to integrate it into their own systems.

JSTOR: Text Analyser

JSTOR Labs provides access to a Text Analyzer tool (currently in Beta), which allows you to upload a document and it will find similar or related article and books. Whilst primarily targeted as a tool to identify other articles as part of a literature search, this may be helpful to also identify where these have been published, to identify potential journals or publishers for your work.

You can access JSTOR here.

JSTOR Text Analyser

Sherpa Services

Sherpa services, can be useful to identify the open access options available with journals you have identified.

  • Sherpa Services: (incorporates previous services including ROMEO, JULIET and OpenDOAR) Provides details of Funder open access policies, and open access options offered to authors by thousands of journals.
  • Journal Compliance Checker Tool: Has replaced the previous Sherpa FACT services and allows authors to check if their preferred journal offers open access options which align with the requirements of their funder.

The video below provides a brief overview of Sherpa: ROMEO.

Responsible Metrics: See our Responsible Metrics and Overview of Research indicator pages for more information:

- DORA: "assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published"
Leiden Manifesto: "The impact factor is calculated for journals indexed in the US-based and still mostly English-language Web of Science. These biases are particularly problematic in the social sciences and humanities, in which research is more regionally and nationally engaged."
The Metric Tide: "placing too much emphasis on narrow, poorly-designed indicators – such as journal impact factors (JIFs) – can have negative consequences"
Durham University Statement on Responsible Metrics: "We will guard against false precision, for example reliance solely on journal / publisher rankings or single metrics."

Journal rankings and citation mapping

Are any journal level metrics considered important in your field of study? Does your department indicate any expectations as to particular "high impact" or "high prestige" journals? Is publication in any particular journal considered important for your career progression? It is also worth considering if your research (or similar research) is attracting interest outside of you traditional field of study?

Journal Rankings: JIF, Eigenfactor, Citescore, SJR and ABS Star Rankings

There are several ranking systems for journals, including:

If you are not sure what the metrics used in the above ranking systems mean, how they are calculated or how they are or should be used, see our guide on research indicators, which includes guidance on journal level metrics.

Citation mapping

It is also worth considering if your research (or similar research) is attracting interest outside of you traditional field of study. One way of doing this is by identifying who is citing similar work and where these citing articles are being published. There are various tools available which might be of interest may also be of interest in seeing "citation flows" - where citations between specific subject areas are developing.

Journal Rankings and Academic Progression

Further information on the responsible use of metrics as part of the academic progression process can be found on the Academic Progression HR Resources Hub. We have included below the FAQs related to use of Journal metrics and rankings as part of these and similar considerations.

In consideration of DORA, can assessment be limited to outputs published in certain journals (e.g. based on Journal Impact Factor, Eigenfactor, Citescore, SNIP or SJR) as a condition of promotion or probation?

No. Consideration of outputs should be dependent upon the quality of the output itself, and not the perceived quality of the venue of publication. Equally, a decision on promotion should not be determined by the venue of publication of an output, but on the quality of the output itself.

Can publication strategies or discussions around career development look at targeting specific journals?

Yes. The quality of a journal article should not be judged by the perceived quality of the journal in which it has been published. However, it is still an expectation that Durham authors publish in the most appropriate journal. This should consider the audience, the rigour of peer-review and editorial processes, and the potential visibility, accessibility and impact offered (for example, does the journal provide options for open access publication). Journal metrics might help support decisions on the rigour of a journals editorial or peer review processes, or the reach and visibility of the research it publishes. It may therefore be appropriate to target certain journals based on these considerations, for some articles, as part of a department or institutional strategy to improve the visibility of our research output and to maximise the potential impact of our research.

Is it appropriate to reward publication in target journals?

The quality of a journal article should not be judged by the perceived quality of the journal in which it has been published. A reward or incentive based on publication in certain journals, and which does not also consider the qualities of the individual output (or the quality of outputs not published in target journals) may be seen as not being in the spirit of the DORA principle of assessing outputs on their intrinsic merit and not the journal in which they have been published.

Publication Planning

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Where to Publish?

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Open Access: Your Publications


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