Recently Rated:


Blogs: 1
Location: Tampa, FL
Work interests: Academic Research, Publishing, Editing
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English
Favourite publications: Patient Health Record Systems Scope and Functionalities: Literature Review and Future Directions. JMIR 19(11):e388; A study of heat related illness preparedness in homeless veterans. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 18: 72-74; Factors Associated with Lumbar Fusion Surgery: A Case-Control Study. European Spine Journal, DOI: 10.1007/s00586-016-4591-4; Experiences of Assisted Living Facility Staff in Evacuating and Sheltering Residents during Hurricanes. Current Psychology 34(3): 506-514; Predictors of the Charges for Lumbar Fusion Surgery in Florida Hospitals. Spine 39(23): 1990-95

Selecting a Peer-Reviewed Journal for Publishing your Manuscript

By anna@publishingassistants, 2018-01-03

The peer-reviewed journal you plan to submit your manuscript to for publication should be selected early in the writing process.  Doing so allows you to write your manuscript in a style and format appropriate for the journal.  Once your journal is selected, search for other articles similar to the one you will be writing.  Things to notice about the style of the journal include perspective, tone, vocabulary, and sentence structure.  For example, note whether the journal uses words such as “we” or “our” indicating that the first-person point of view is used and where (e.g. introduction, discussion).  Pay attention to the level of formality of the writing.  Notice if there are certain words or jargon that are commonly used in the journal.  

Important formatting to review includes the journal’s use of sections and subsections (e.g. introduction, methods, results, discussion, etc.). Noting the reference and citation style requirements is also important.  Using a reference management software such as EndNote or Zotero will make editing sources or changing citation styles much easier, particularly if you need to submit to more than one journal.  The journal’s formatting requirements can typically be found in the instructions to authors provided on the journals’ websites.

The goal of writing your article in a style and format suited to the journal you have selected is to have the article sound and look appropriate for the journal, demonstrate that you are familiar with the journal and have read through the instructions.  Ultimately, this will make it easy for the reviewers and editors who receive your manuscript to envision your article in their journal, increasing the likelihood of acceptance.

So how do you go about selecting a journal in the first place?  Given that there is no time constraint, it is best to have more than one journal in mind.  One method is to select at least one reach journal (the likelihood of acceptance is low), one or two journals that are a match (reasonable to believe your article will be accepted) and a safety journal (the likelihood of acceptance is high).  An impact factor is one method that can be used to categorize the journals. You should begin by submitting to your reach journals, then move on to your match journals and submit to your safety journals last.

Once you have your journals in mind, email the editor of the journal with a short description of your manuscript and attach an abstract with the appropriate section headings required by the journal. Express your interest in applying to the journal and ask if they would recommend submitting. You won’t always receive a response, but if you are told that the article is not of interest this will save you the time and effort it requires to format and prepare the manuscript for the journal, complete the submission process, and wait for a response from reviewers.  Conversely, if you are encouraged to respond you can feel confident that you will not receive a desk rejection – a rejection that is made by the editor without ever reaching the peer-reviewers.

Contact Publishing Assistants at if you would like help formatting or selecting suitable journals for your manuscript.