- Develop a strategy
Depending on your project, your goals may be to either publish quickly or publish high impact. Many investigators look for a balance in which they can get their work published within a reasonable timeline but still be proud of the journal to which they’ve submitted their work. It is important before you begin selecting a journal to develop a strategy based on what your priorities are for a publication. Consider how long you want to spend waiting from reviewers of each journal and how quickly you are willing to move down in impact factor in order to publish in a timely manner.
- Consult collaborators
Rarely is someone sole author on a paper. Senior collaborators are a great source of guidance for where to publish. They are likely to have experience with the publishing process at journals of interest. Consult your collaborators and coworkers on what their experiences have been and the likelihood your manuscript will be published in certain journals.
- Review journal scope
An important step to journal selection is reviewing the scopes of prospective journals. Every journal website has a description of the types of articles they publish and the audience they attract. Ensuring that your manuscript aligns with the scope of the journal will make the publishing process much more straightforward.
- Stay organized
Throughout the journal selection process you will be consulting different people and reviewing many journals to see where your manuscript will fit. It is important to stay organized. Create a spreadsheet to track journals you’ve reviewed, aim and scope, impact factor, and other information that will help you determine the final selection.
- Query editors
One of the most frustrating parts of the publishing process is getting rejected from a journal because your data doesn’t match their scope. A quick way to verify whether your manuscript is a contender is to email an editor a query letter. In this letter you will provide the editor with a brief description of your research and ask whether you think your manuscript is a good fit. This can save you a lot of time by reducing the number of journals you need to reformat your manuscript for.