10.1 Step 1: Examining which journals publish on your topic

Let's assume you have written a paper, but are unsure which journal to submit it to. Normally, you would already have a pretty good idea of suitable journals through your literature review, but there might be good reasons why you havent been able to settle on a journal yet. You might want to ensure you havent neglected any options. Or you might know what the most suitable journal would be, but you have already published several papers there and you are keen to show the impact of your work beyond your immediate academic peer group. Or maybe the journal that is most appropriate is one with which you have recently had a bad experience in the review process (e.g. long delays or shoddy reviewer reports).

What you can do in this case is use the General Citation Search option in Publish or Perish and do a search by the most important key-words in your paper. For further information on the mechanics of General Citation Searches, see Chapter 5. If you search for a relatively generic topic, many of the hits you get will be books, especially in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Books tend to be highly cited, because they contain more citable material than short journal articles. This is especially true for classic works in the field. As we are not intending to write a book, the best way to find appropriate journals is to sort the results by publication outlet by clicking on the Publication column.

As the default sort for Publish or Perish is always by number of citations, clicking on the Publication column will result in a list that is sorted by publication outlet first and then by the number of citations. Scrolling down the list easily allows one to identify the journals that contain articles on your topic and also shows us which of these are most highly cited.