Selecting a Target Journal – An Example

When you select a target journal for a research manuscript, there are many factors to consider. Check out my previous post for details. Now, I’d like to share with you an example of selecting a target journal.

A few years ago, I worked with my colleagues on a study to examine training programs provided for Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers. As the first step for selecting a target journal, we searched from major databases on journals that published articles on emergency preparedness, preferably on MRC. We generated an initial list of journals that may be potentially interested in our research topic. As you can see from table 1, very few articles on MRC have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

example of selecting a target journal

Then we tried to shorten this list by reading the journals’ broad aim, scope, and other information to assess quality, relevance, and feasibility. We added more notes for each potential target journal and put stars to indicate how likely we would consider it. Table 2 shows some main ideas, but we actually had more notes for ourselves.

example of selecting a target journal

After some discussion, we selected Journal F which seemed to be a good fit for our article and had published an article on MRC a while ago. The editor was very interested in our paper. After a few weeks, we got an email requesting a minor revision and resubmission. It was formally accepted soon after the resubmission. Clearly, we chose the right journal.

This is just an example for your reference. You might use a different method or procedure to find the best journal for your article. There is no standard way to do it.

Choosing a good target journal needs thought and comparison. If your article is on a topic that has not been widely published (like our example above), you may devote more time and effort to target journal searching and selection. It is totally worth it. Find the best match will substantially increase the chance of acceptance for publication.