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Academic Journal Publishing: Journal Reputation

Guide created by Elliott Kuecker

Indexing and Availability

Indexing and availability stipulates where people will discover your work. You want to submit your work to journals that people in your field will easily find through keyword searches within databases. There are two simple ways to find out where journals are discoverable.

The first is to go to a journal of interest's website and click on About this Journal, where you will find some version of this information. Examples:


Another way is to go to a database you know people in your field often use and find the list of journals they index (they may index an entire article or just the abstract and keywords).

Here is an example of performing that search:

1. Find the Browse by Subject area in a database

2. Select a subject listing best suited for your manuscript

3. Explore the list of journals available in that subject area within that database


Open Access and Author's Rights

Open Access journals are freely available online and do not require the use of a database subscription or institutional affiliation for researchers to discover them. These journals  include different Creative Commons licenses to either protect the author's work or encourage re-use and derivatives. Sometimes authors purposely seek out open access journals to promote the circulation of free scholarship without cost barriers.

The Directory of Open Access Journals provides lists for interested researchers.

Since these articles would be accessible online without institutional affiliation or subscription, authors should consider if they agree with the Creative Commons Attribution related to the journal. An image will appear at the bottom of the journal website indicating this.


Journal Rankings

Journal ranking or impact factor is a debated topic, and there are various ways these rankings can be calculated. These rankings attempt to quantify how difficult it is to be published in the journal, its prestige within the field, and its impact in the field (circulation, downloads, citations).

Rankings can be found on places like SCImago.

Impact Factor is a numerical rank attributed to a journal based on a calculation. Some journals have no impact factor listed, as this is an external calculation. The number can be found on the journal's homepage, typically within the heading.



Review Processes

It is important to understand the review process a journal uses before submitting. These are always stated on the journal's website. The common options are:

(1) Blind peer review. The manuscript is anonymously sent to outside reviewers who give provide decisions of either reject, accept with revisions, or accept the manuscript. They may also provide feedback for editing. This is considered the most rigorous level of review, in general.

(2) Peer review. The manuscript will be reviewed by other experts, but the author and reviewers will know who each other are and may possibility communicate. Sometimes authors can even select their reviewers.

(3) Reviewed by editor only. Some journals allow the editor(s) to make the decisions without the peer review process. They will provide feedback just as reviewed would. Creative journals, such as literary magazines, often use this system.

Article Downloads

On the journal website, you can often find metrics for individual articles. It will list citations, downloads, and sometimes its popularity compared to other articles.


Acceptance Rate

Some journals will provide their percentage of accepted articles within their About or Author Guidelines. This is a valuable source of information. A low acceptance rate does mean the journal is competitive, but a high acceptance rate does not indicate that a journal is of low quality. High acceptance rates could be related to a journal

  • being in its first few years of published, and therefore less known, but still indexed and well-edited
  • providing a platform for graduate student and early-career academic scholarship and therefore accepting new and different scholarship
  • providing scholarship to such a small niche of research that it receives fewer submissions, but is still of strong quality


Some guides will also provide info on popular journal acceptance rates:

APA Journal Acceptance Rates

Journal Information

Almost all of the information you would need to know about a journal can be found in Ulrich's Periodical Directory.

Their journal profiles are useful, but it is wise to investigate the journal's website in case things have been updated.