Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Where to publish

When your research is ready for publication, consider choosing a journal which will maximise the impact of your research. Tools such as Journal Citation Reports help you to identify the journal’s impact factor and its quartile ranking.

While these indicators are important aids to identifying a journal, it is also necessary to check out the scope of the journal, the publisher's terms and conditions, and to consult with colleagues regarding their publishing expertise. If you're not familiar with a particular journal and want to check that it is genuine and trustworthy, sites such as Think Check Submit can help.

Journal citation reports: Impact Factors and Quartile Rankings

The journal’s Impact Factor and its Quartile Ranking can help inform your decision.

The Journal Impact Factor is based on the average number of citations a journal has received in a two year time period. Quartile Rankings group journals together within categories and rank according to impact factor.

Impact factors and quartile rankings can be found in the Journal Citation Reports database (JCR), which is produced by Thomson Reuters. Further information can be found in the RCSI Library’s Guide to Journal Citation Reports and Quartile Rankings available in the Information Seeking and Library Skills module on Moodle - scroll down to Topic 5, Guides and Resources for Researchers.

Journal Citation Reports, Scopus and Web of Knowledge can be found on the Library's Databases page.

Other tools: SJR and JANE

  • SJR (SciMago Journal and Country Rank) uses Scopus data to provide rankings of journals (similar to JCR’s Impact Factor) and allows you to search by category or by journal name.
  • JANE(Journal/Author Name Estimator).  Insert your article title and/or abstract and JANE will match your text with text in Medline and find the best matching journal.

Databases: where is the journal indexed?

In order to maximise the visibility of your research, check which database your intended journal is indexed in. You want to ensure that your research will be discoverable in the results of literature/systematic review searches. The publishers’ websites will usually list the databases, but you can also browse journal lists from within the databases themselves.

Ideally, the journal should be indexed in Scopus (the university rankings are currently taken from Scopus), Medline and/or the subject specific database. For instance, it is important that a nursing article is published within a journal indexed by CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature) as nursing related literature searches will always include this database and sometimes may be limited to CINAHL. In this way, you ensure that your article is findable by your network.

Predatory publishers

An unfortunate side-effect of the growth of high-quality open access journals is the number of 'predatory' open access publishers that have also sprung up. These publishers essentially accept as many articles as possible in order to make as much money as possible. These journals provide little or no peer-review and editorial services, and as a result the quality of the articles they publish is poor.

Predatory journals can sometimes be hard to spot. Their websites can look professional, while making claims that are untrue. For example, saying that they have an Impact Factor when they do not, or claiming recognised experts are on the editorial board when they are not.

How to spot 'predatory' journals and publishers:

  • How quickly are they offering to publish? If they offer a very fast turn-around time for publication, then be suspicious. 
  • Where is the journal listed? Assuming the journal is an open access journal, check that it is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) which lists reputable open access journals. Quality Open Access Market also has information about the transparency and author experience of different journals. You can also check if it is on INSAP's Journals Online platforms (for journals published in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Central America and Mongolia) or on African Journals Online (AJOL) for African journals.
  • Who is the publisher? Check that the publisher is a member of a trade association such as Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM).
  • Who is on the editorial board? Check that the editorial board of the journal are recognised experts in their field. Sometimes predatory journals list people as editors without their knowledge. Check that the people listed as editors are actually editors! E.g. check their profiles on their university website to ensure they mention their role as an editor of that journal.
  • Take a look at the journal. If the journal appears to have a back-catalogue of articles/issues, make sure they are accessible; look at the quality of the research published in the journal; check that there is verifiable contact information about the publisher e.g. an address and working telephone number, not just a web form; check that there is a clear statement of what fees will be charged, what they are for and when they will be charged.

More Information

See the Researcher Handbook for more information on publishing, including the importance of consistency in using personal, department and institutional names.


For help with choosing a journal to publish in, contact Grainne McCabe, Scholarly Communications & Research Support Officer.

Acknowledgements: The above advice on predatory journals was adapted with permission from University of Portsmouth Library and ThinkCheckSubmit