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Best Life Science Journals To Publish Your Research Paper

Before diving into the core of the topic, lets first understand What a journal is? A journal is an academic publication comprising articles written by professors, researchers and other connoisseurs. Journals emphasize a precise discipline of study. Journals are contrasting to magazines and newspapers, they are intended not for common readers, but for a technical or scholastic audience. It offers an authentic platform for the students, academicians, and researchers across the globe to impart knowledge in the form of superior quality research work in different subjects. It is a collection of articles and publication of journals are in an ordered manner, i.e., monthly, quarterly, etc. and are organized chronologically. An issue is a copy of the journal, and a set of issues are assembled to make a volume. They may well be published in online formats or print, or both. Journals, thus, present the most up to date research, and journal articles are written for experts, by experts.

According to sources, there is an existence of more than 70,000 research journals, rising at a rate of around 3.5% per year. In 2014 alone, more than 1,000 new journals were launched. Seeing

these numbers, one can say that journal selection is a daunting task. The procedure of choosing a suitable journal has become increasingly complex as the number of journals has ballooned, and also due to the expansion of the zones of specialization, and at the advent of interdisciplinary topics. However, there are various online tools at present to narrow down the hunt for the suitable journal. Most important thing to be done by an author is optimization between several criteria before reaching the final decision of where to publish the paper. It is important for a person to go through the selection criteria of the journal before submitting an article to it.

Firstly, it is important to ascertain whether the subject matter of the article matches that of the target journal. The class of research that the journal focuses on has to be considered. It is essential to know whether it is theoretical (e.g., Acta Biotheoretica) or applied (e.g., Annals of Applied Biology). Further, it becomes crucial to find out whether the range of articles sought by the journal is broad-based or very narrow in focus.

With respect to their subject area, journals are usually very specific. The journal may furthermore focus only on a particular facet of that subject, within the broader subject area. For example, The Journal of Pathology and Histopathology are two much respected journals which focus on discrete aspects of the same subject, viz., pathology. The Journal of Pathology encompasses articles about the pathogenetic and pathophysiological mechanisms of human disease, while, Histopathology is envisioned to be of practical value to surgical and diagnostic histopathologists.

As a final point, it is mandatory to make sure that the target journal accepts the type of article that is to be submitted. For instance, if the paper is a case study, it has to be checked that case reports are published by the journal. There is an almost 100% chance of manuscript rejection if a submission is done in a journal that does not accept the type of article that has been written.

There are several criteria that have been found to be the most important in precisely selecting a peer-reviewed journal for submission of manuscripts: (Criteria For Selection selecting a peer-reviewed journal)

1. Find out a match between the subject of your article and the aim and scope of the journal.

The most common cause for rejection by a journal is a mismatch between the manuscript and the aims and scope of the journal. The first step in selecting the right journal is to know its scope and aim. This information is generally obtainable on the journal’s website. It also helps to find the kind of articles that the journal is concerned in publishing. It is also advisable to read a few of the articles that the journal has already published, and then determining any similarity between the manuscript and those already published.
Information can also be obtained from a literature review. One has to look for those journals, where the papers cited have been published. Seemingly those journals may likewise be attracted in your work. This tactic can be of help when a journal’s scope does not provide sufficient details to decide whether that journal would be the precise match for the manuscript.

2. The readership and target audience.

Journals can be multidisciplinary or specialty journal.

Multidisciplinary journal: For example, if, the paper could have an impact on public policy, then it is wise to opt for a broad-based journal that can reach an expansive and non-technical audience.

Specialty journal: If the paper is technical or highly specialized, it is better to publish in a journal with a small but very specific target audience.

The choice of the journal can further hinge on the type of the audience that has to be reached out. Basing on the requirements, a journal with broad scope and wider target audience may be looked for. At times, reaching the precise readership can be more essential than reaching a broad readership. It is advisable to know about the popularity of the journal among the peers. Further, consultation with established colleagues helps to assess if the journal is commonly read among the peers.

3. High visibility of the journal.

Journal visibility plays a very important role. Once the paper has been published, it should be easily findable by other researchers. It is essential to find out the inclusion of the journal in electronic databases. Further, it is to be checked whether the journal is indexed in the subject-specific databases prevalent in the specific field. These cues can improve the familiarity of the research in the chosen field and thereby may increase the number of times the article is cited.

Furthermore, the online availability of the journal has to be checked. Publication in those journals that are merely circulated in printed form can utterly limit the count of people reading or discovering your work.

4. “CV value of publication”.

A premium is put on journal prestige by some authors. Following factors are to be considered.

Editorial board members: Eminent researchers usually act as members of the Editorial Board in many prestigious journals. Journal’s website can be visited to check out the names on the Editorial Board. Whether the Board members are well-known in the field of study can be easily found out.

Journal sponsorship: It should be known whether the prestigious society in the field owns or sponsors the journal.

It is important to verify the impact factor of the journal. The impact factor relative to those of analogous journals within the field should be considered. Conversation with senior, established colleagues helps tremendously. They can assist by suggesting the names of the regularly read journals. Also, they can have an opinion of those journals that have a high standard of articles.

5. Turnaround time of the journal

One of the important things to be known beforehand is the peer review period. One has to consider how long a journal takes in order to publish articles, and by that has to be aware of the number of issues published by the journal in a year. A monthly journal is most likely to review the article faster as compared with a journal that publishes only once a year.

There can be a substantial delay between submission and publication with a few journals. Most of the journals list the date of submission and the date of acceptance. An approximate idea of the turnaround time can be gained by comparing these dates.

It is essential to know if the journal has an online edition and whether it posts the accepted articles online, once it is approved for publication. If it is so, this implies that the article will be published online shortly after it is accepted, albeit it appears in print a while later. One who eyes to publish in hurly-burly, the best option may be open access.

Journal Selection Procedure

After the preparation of a manuscript, next move is to opt for a journal for publishing the research. Selection of a journal can be browbeating. There is an enormous number of active research journals. Selection of the right one can embroil researching the scope of the journals that one is interested in. Various research tools have made this process easier. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Scopus can help to find out authentic journals. Predacious publishers can be avoided with the aid of ThinkCheckSubmit. Selection can almost be automated by FindMyJournal. The selection process can be streamlined with the help of all these tools.

It is imperative to select a peer-reviewed journal which can portray the research in the rightest way and deliver it to the appropriate sought out audience. And undoubtedly, the list of journals wherein articles have been published can directly or indirectly have an impact on the advancement of career, funding opportunities and professional reputation.
Thus, while choosing a journal for publication, the following things should be ensured:

  • Compatibility of the subject of the article and the journal’s subject focus
  • Whether the journal accepts the type of article that is intended for submission
  • Whether the journal is read by the target audience
  • The inclusion of the journal in subject-specific and bibliographic databases
  • An online edition of the journal
  • Whether the journal’s impact factor is in line with one’s requirements
  • Whether the journal is regarded as a prestigious one by colleagues and peers
  • Journal’s turnaround time for the submitted articles
  • The frequency of the journal publication
  • Publication charges of the journal

Many tools and platforms are available which help the researchers to search for the right journal. Following are a few of them:

DOAJ: Launched in 2003 at Lund University, Sweden, it is regarded to be the most authentic database of open access journals. It contains approximately 9,000 open access journals that cover all areas of social science, medicine, humanities, science, and technology.

Scopus: It is the principal citation database of peer-reviewed literature such as scientific books, journals and conference proceedings. It endows a thorough overview of the world’s research out-turn in the fields of social sciences, arts, humanities, medicine, science, and technology. Journals from more than 5,000 publishers have been indexed by Scopus. An independent advisory board must approve the journal in order to get it enlisted in Scopus. It means that only about 750 get added to Scopus of almost 3,500 recommended journals per year.

Think.Check.Submit: It is a crusade to assist researchers to find out reliable journals for their research. It provides an efficient way to filter out predacious journals in the selection process. Finally, a paper may be submitted in the journal.

FindMyJournal: With the help of this, researchers get to select the most suitable journal for publication of their manuscript. An objective and a mathematical algorithm is used for shortlisting the befitting journals. Currently, it has more than 29,000 journals in its database.

Some examples of distinguished journals that have showcased life science research are listed below:

1. Nature Reviews Cancer (impact factor: 42.784)
2. Nature Reviews Immunology (impact factor: 41.982)
3. Nature (impact factor: 41.577)
4. Science (New York, N.Y.) (impact factor: 41.058)
5. Nature Biotechnology (impact factor: 35.724)
6. Nature Reviews. Molecular Cell Biology (impact factor: 35.612)
7. Trends in Biotechnology (impact factor: 13.578)
8. Current Opinion in Cell Biology (impact factor: 10.015)
9. Microbiome (Impact Factor: 9.000)
10. New Phytologist (impact factor: 7.43)

Careful selection of the journal to which the manuscript has to be submitted greatly trims down the chances of rejection of the work. Once a preliminary decision has been taken on the journal, Instructions to Authors should be ready to uncover the limitations laid down by the journal. It may be in the form of word count, article format, citation styles, specifications of photograph, publication charges, etc. Choosing the appropriate journal for manuscript submission is undoubtedly a hard-hitting task for a good number of authors. Professionals in writing and editing recommend selecting the journal at the commencement of manuscript writing so that the article can be addressed to the audience of the chosen journal. The article is to be presented in a customary style and length suggested by that journal, thus ameliorating redundant rejections and holdups with the publication of the research data. Paper has to be submitted to only one journal at a time. In the whole process, considerations consist of the scope of the journal, any restrictions imposed on types or topics of the manuscript, and also the Impact Factor of the journal. Hence, the four key factors to be considered while sending a manuscript to a journal are its visibility, notability, publication charge and speed. Fundamental knowledge of all these factors can help one make a final decision.

About the Author
Dr. Deepa Sharma is a dynamic professor at Biotecnika with specialization in Microbiology. With a Ph.D. in Botany, She is an avid follower of the latest life science journals and has quite a number of publications of her own piece of work. She has also been the most patient and a loving teacher to all our students for her true interest in dedicating her immense knowledge towards them. The above article has been penned down by her based on her experience & research she did herself while doing her Ph.D. & publishing research papers.
Perfection is her hobby, Reliability is a synonym, Editing is her passion, Excellence is her Goal, Tactfulness is in her genes, Yellow is her Fav color. Preety is the name of the Professional on whom entire BioTecNika relies when it comes to its website. A Gold Medalist in Biotech from SRM University, Chennai with a 9.9 CGPA ( was awarded the Gold Medal by Honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi , as seen in the pic ), She decided to join forces with BioTecNika to ensure India's largest BioSciences Portal expands its reach to every city in India. She has redesigned the new avatar of BioTecNika from scratch and heads the most dynamic, vibrant and well informed Online Team at Biotecnika Info Labs Pvt Ltd

5 COMMENTS

  1. This was such a helpful article. I m initiating my PhD coursework now and this article will prove very useful during the course of my work… I will share it with my friends and colleagues who are related to this fraternity.. Thanks once again!

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