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Selecting a Journal to Publish your Manuscript

Getting Started

Congratulations on reaching the writing stage of your research or quality improvement project! In publishing a manuscript in a journal, you are sharing your contributions to the field and engaging in the scholarly publication process. The purpose of this guide is to help you navigate and select potential journals for publishing.

Why Publish Your Research or Quality Improvement Project in a Scholarly Journal?

  • Benefits your career as it provides evidence that you have completed a project and have an example of your professional writing,
  • Shares experience of successful research so others in the field can implement it within their own workplace as well, and
  • Grows the disciplinary field, expanding on the methodology and hopefully, impacting patient outcomes.

Simplified Journal Article Publication Process

  1. Find peer-review journal within the scope of your research or quality improvement project
  2. Explore and evaluate based on the criteria for selecting a journal
  3. Write your manuscript following the Author Guidelines of your selected journal
  4. Double-check the completed manuscript meets the Author Guidelines
  5. Submit for peer-review
  6. Receive peer-review comments
  7. Revise to address reviewers' concerns
  8. Resubmit for review
  9. Accepted for publication
  10. Receive manuscript proofs from publisher to make final corrections
  11. Published in an issue of the journal.

Strategies for Finding Journals

There are many strategies for finding a journal which fits your project. Below are some potential strategies to get you started:

  • Consult your peers or mentors on where they have published their research or quality improvement projects
    • Ask about their experiences submitting a manuscript to that journal.
    • If they have not submitted an article, ask them about the journals they read or subscribe to in that discipline.
  • Review the bibliography you prepared in your proposal or manuscript for potential journals options
    • Review for multiple citations from the same journal. That might be a sign that your manuscript's topic is within that journal's scope and aims.
  • Use a journal selector search like Edanz or J/ANE
    • Search using your prepared abstract or relevant keywords related to your manuscript.
  • Write using the SQUIRE Statement manuscript format if you are using a Quality Improvement methodology for your project.
  • Check disciplinary lists in various citation reports

Resources for Journal Selection

Resources to Review Potential Journals:

Resources to Review Journal Quality:

Books on Writing for Publication

Scholarly Publication Models

One aspect of selecting a publishing model is knowing your rights as an author. No matter what publication model you pursue, it is essential that you review any contracts associated with the publication of your manuscript.

When publishing, authors are presented with a contract or copyright transfer agreement drafted by the publisher. Many publisher drafted agreements transfer copyright fully to the publisher thereby restricting an author's subsequent usage of his or her published work, including reuse of the work in teaching and further research. After transferring copyright to the publisher, the author generally has little say in how the work is later used and restricts the dissemination and impact of scholarship.

The traditional model of academic publishing is the subscription-based journal. The subscriptions are either paid by the reader or libraries providing the journal in their collections. In effect, users are paying to read the content. Due to the cost of subscription fees, access to your article may be limited which can lessen the impact of your project. In addition, it usually takes longer from submission to acceptance and publication in subscription-based journals because:

  • A certain number of articles are needed to publish an issue
  • Publishers have a surplus of publishable articles due to space limitations


The following YouTube video "Open Access Explained!" created by Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD) Comics. The video explains open access in context of science research and publication.