Targeting and Selecting the
Appropriate Publication Outlet
Diane L. Schallert
The University of Texas at Austin
with acknowledgement of P. Karen Murphy
of the Pennsylvania State University for help on slide content
How important is this
What are the career benefits for
publishing in a particular journal?
How important is journal ranking in your
tenure and promotion process?
Will the data have less impact if they
take a long time to publish?
How long should you take in deciding on
the appropriate journal?
Identifying the Possibilities
Scan the journals in your literature
review or reference list
Do a search either electronic or actual
thumbing through current hardcopies
Reference Guides:
Journal Citation Reports
Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory
Directory of Open Access Journals
Cabell’s Directory
Selecting Among the
Possibilities: A Model
(Knight & Steinbach, 2008)
Factor 1: Likelihood of Timely
1A. Topic centrality
1B. Methodological alignment
1C. Harmony between your
manuscript and a journal
1A. Topic Centrality
 Has the journal published articles on the
same subject as your manuscript?
 If not, has the journal at least published
articles on the topics that serve as your
theoretical basis?
 Is your manuscript consistent with the
journal’s scope, aim, and editorial
 AERJ: Standards for Reporting on Empirical
Social Science Research in AERA Publications
Aim and Scope: e.g., AERJ
The American Educational Research Journal has as its purpose to carry original empirical and theoretical
studies and analyses in education. The editors seek to publish articles from a wide variety of academic
disciplines and substantive fields; they are looking for clear and significant contributions to the
understanding and/or improvement of educational processes and outcomes. Manuscripts not
appropriate for submission to this journal include essays, reviews, course evaluations, and brief reports
of studies to address a narrow question.
The Social and Institutional Analysis section of AERJ (AERJ-SIA) publishes scholarly research that addresses
significant political, cultural, social, economic, and organizational issues in education. This section
publishes research analyzing the broader contextual and organizational factors affecting teaching and
learning, the links between those factors and the nature and processes of schooling, and the ways that
such "external" domains are conceptualized in research, policy, and practice. The section invites
manuscripts that advance the theoretical understandings of the social and institutional contexts of
education and that encompass the diverse communities of schooling and educational research to
achieve social justice in education. The Social and Institutional Analysis section welcomes research
across a wide range of methodological paradigms, including ethnographic, historical, narrative, legal,
experimental/quantitative, critical, and interpretive approaches; the section also invites studies that
make the nature and uses of educational research itself the subject of social and cultural inquiry.
The Teaching, Learning, and Human Development section of AERJ (AERJ-TLHD) publishes research articles
that explore the processes and outcomes of teaching, learning, and human development at all
educational levels and in both formal and informal settings. This section also welcomes policy research
related to teaching, learning, and learning to teach. It publishes articles that represent a wide range of
academic disciplines and use a variety of research methods.
1B. Methodological Alignment
 Does your manuscript conform to the
methodological predilections of the journal
 (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, multiple
experiments, review)?
 Has the journal published articles using your
manuscript’s methodology before?
 Has the journal published methodological
guidelines and have you followed them?
Methodology: e.g., JXE
In consideration of contemporary thinking about
statistical significance tests, reflected in the 1993
JXE theme issue Guidelines for Contributors 83(Vol.
61, No. 4), authors are encouraged to use the phrase
“statistical significance” rather than only
“significance” whenever referring to the results of
inferential tests. Furthermore, authors are required
to report and interpret magnitude-of-effect measures
in conjunction with every p-value that is reported
(see the Snyder & Lawson article in the 1993 [Vol.
61, No. 4] JXE theme issue on statistical
significance testing).
1C. Harmony between your
Manuscript and the Journal
 Is the manuscript consistent with the
disciplinary focus of the journal?
 How many times is the journal cited in
your manuscript?
 Is the typical time from submission to
publication sufficiently short for your
 Review Lags, Revision lags, Copyediting
lags, and Backlogs
Determining Time to Publication
Time to Publication = Review Cycle Time Delay +
Publication Time Delay
 Review Cycle Time Delay = f (x, y, z)
x = anticipated average review time
y = anticipated number of review cycles
z = your ability to address the feedback
 Publication Time Delay = g (p, q)
p = publisher’s processing time once
manuscript is
q = backlog of finished articles awaiting
More on Harmony…
 What is the journal’s acceptance rate? If it is
low, is the manuscript appropriate for an
announced theme issue where acceptance
might be higher?
 Acceptance rate/rejection rate is a measure of the
journal’s competitiveness (see Cabell’s Directory)
 Does your manuscript conform to the
Instructions to Authors (e.g., prose, length,
tables, figures, references)?
 Does manuscript target audience match that of
the journal (e.g., national or international)?
Harmony Answers:
A Few Good Sources
Impressions from colleagues
Cabell’s Directory
Journal editor, editorial board
members, or managing editor
Journal and/or its web page
Factor 2: Predicted Impact
of the Published Article
The manuscript’s topic and
findings and author(s) (YOU)
Journal quality
Readership and/or availability
…and, of course, timeliness in
2A. Manuscript itself
Is the topic timely?
Are the findings interesting? Can they be
made interesting?
Is it well-written?
What cachet do the authors bring?
2B. Journal Quality
Is the journal peer-reviewed?
Are the journal’s editor, reviewers, and
publisher academically respected?
Is the journal ranked or rated by your
What is the journal’s impact factor (e.g.,
ISI Journal Citation Reports or
Impact Factor
The impact factor of a journal is calculated based on
a two-year period. It is the average number of
citations in a year to all papers published in a journal
during the two preceding years.
2011 Journal Impact = A/ B
A = the number of times articles published in 2009-2010
were cited in indexed journals during 2011
B = the number of "citable items" (usually articles, reviews,
proceedings or notes; not editorials and letters-to-theEditor) published in 2009-2010
A convenient way of thinking about it is that a journal
that is cited once, on average, for each article
published has an IF of 1 in the expression above.
2C. Readership and
What is the journal’s circulation (e.g.,
regional, national, or international)?
Is the journal available through the Internet
or indexed electronically (e.g., PsychInfo)?
Is it an SSCI journal?
Is the journal associated with a society or
organization (e.g., AERA) that you value?
If all else fails…
Consider alternate publications
Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
“a bi-monthly magazine devoted to scientific
humor, in the form of a satirical take on the
standard academic journal.”
If all else fails…
Consider alternate publications
Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR)
“is a magazine of science humor…it contains a
unique mix of jokes, satire of scientific practice,
science cartoons, and discussion of funny but real
If all else fails…
Consider alternate publications
Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
Journal of Irreproducible Results (JIR)
Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR)
“The founding principle of JofUR is rejection. Universal
rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of
quality, will be rejected. [Nevertheless,] here are a number
of reasons you may choose to submit to JofUR”
(No anxiety about whether it will get accepted, no page fees, you can claim you’ve submitted to the
most prestigious journal in terms of acceptance rate, you retain complete rights to your work and
may submit to another journal even before our review is complete, decisions are often rendered
within hours of submission.)
Impact factor. (2009, March 31). In Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:43, April 1, 2009, from
Knight, L. V., & Steinbach, T. A. (2008). Selecting an
appropriate publication outlet: A comprehensive model
of journal selection criteria for researchers in a broad
range of academic disciplines. International Journal of
Doctoral Studies, 3, 59-79.
Sarli, B. (2008). Preparing for publication. Bernard
Becker Medical Library: Washington University School
of Medicine.

Targetting and Selecting Appropriate Journals