Biomedical Science

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How to Choose a Journal

How to Choose a Journal

There are steps you can take to ensure you select a high-quality journal that aligns with your scholarly goals.

Basic Questions

Consider these questions to help compare journals you are considering:

  1. Readership: What is the intended audience of the journal?
  2. Scope: What is the focus and scope of the journal?
  3. Peer Review: Is the journal peer-reviewed?
  4. Relevance: Does the journal publish the kind of publication you intend to write? (i.e. journal article, book review, review, letter etc.)
  5. Reputation:
    1. Consult Journal Citation Reports to find out the impact factor and where the journal is ranked in its category.
    2. Examine the list of editors for names you recognize in your field
    3. Avoid "predatory" journals by consulting our Guide on How to Avoid Predatory Journals.
    4. Citation: Examine the journals that publish the articles you are using as a background information. Is the journal being cited by other researchers in the field?
  6. Timeliness: Consider the amount of time it takes from submission to publication.
  7. Indexing: Is the journal indexed in PubMed/Ovid MEDLINE, Web of Science, CINAHL or other reputable literature database?
  8. Cost: Does the journal charge for publishing, e.g. an Article Processing Fee for choosing to make your article open access?
  9. Open Access:
    1. Is the journal content open access? If so, how, through a fee?
    2. Does the journal facilitate compliance with the NIH Open Access Policy by depositing your manuscript into PubMedCentral?
    3. NEW! Is there funding support for UVA authors, including discounts and coverage for open access fees? See below to learn more:
      Publisher Description Learn More
      ACM (Association of Computing Machinery)

      Open access article processing charges for all  ACM journals, magazines, and proceedings are covered by VIVA (Virginia's academic library consortium) through December 31, 2024. This arrangement does not include books or book chapters.

      Read more
      BMJ Case
      See Instructions for Authors for a user guide and help on how to submit cases. For access problems or questions, Contact BMJ. To submit your article, connect to the submission page while on a UVA computer network and reference the UVA Fellowship Code, found here.

      Includes coverage of publishing fees for open access articles published in certain fully open access journals or subscription journals with an open access option (hybrid journals) through December 31, 2024.

      CUP’s Open Access waiver web site includes a list of eligible journal titles.

      Use the tool on this page to learn about eligibility and what journals are covered.
      Rockefeller University Press

      Article processing charges for articles published in Rockefeller University Press (RUP) hybrid journals are covered by VIVA (Virginia's academic library consortium) until December 31, 2023. Journal titles: Journal of Cell Biology (JCB), Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), and Journal of General Physiology (JGP). To qualify, the article must be accepted for publication by December 31, 2023.

      Read more

      Article processing charges for Wiley fully gold open access journals and subscription journals with an open access option (Wiley's hybrid journals) may be covered by VIVA (Virginia’s academic library consortium) until December 31, 2024.

      Read the VIVA Wiley FAQ and the workflow to request funding.

Journal Selection Tools

Even after considering the above characteristics, choosing a journal can be difficult. Below are some tools that can help. Most allow you to copy and paste keywords or your entire abstract and then suggest journals with similar publications: 

It may also be helpful to do a PubMed search on your keywords, then sort your results by Journal (click on Display options then Sort by Journal). You may want to limit your results by Year as well (from the menu on the left) to see what journals have been publishing lately on your topic.


Additional assistance is available to UVA Health System faculty, staff, and students. Just Ask Us - we are happy to provide help via email, Zoom, phone, or in-person.

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