Paper submission

Publish or Perish tutorial

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 haven’t been able to settle on a journal yet.

  • You might want to ensure you haven’t neglected any options.
  • You might know what the most suitable journal would be, but you have already published several papers there and are keen to show the impact of your work beyond your immediate academic peer group.
  • The most appropriate journal is one with which you have recently had a bad experience in the review process (e.g. long delays or shoddy reviewer reports).

Use General search to search for keywords

What you can do in this case is use the General search option in Publish or Perish and conduct search a search with the most important key-words in your paper. 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.

Sort the results by publication outlet

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 the 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.

Worked example: Ethical marketing

Let’s assume you have written a paper about ethical marketing. You have already noticed that the top-ranked mainstream marketing journals such as Journal of Marketing and Journal of Consumer Research do not seem to publish a lot of papers on this topic and hence are looking for alternative options.

Use either "The phrase" or "All of the words" field

You would enter the words ethical marketing in the The phrase box. This will provide any articles in which the words ethical marketing appear in that particular order. You will get the same results by including the search term ethical marketing in quotes (“ethical marketing”) in the All the words field. If you include the search term ethical marketing without quotes it provides many more matches as it matches the words in any order. There will be lots of publications that include both these relatively generic words.

Limit the search to recent years

As you want to ensure that the journal has published on ethical marketing in recent years, you limit the search to the last decade (this particular search was conducted in 2010, so results found range between 2000 and 2010).

The result: a neat list of popular journal outlets

The search resulted in 874 hits (including duplicates). As expected many of the most-cited works were books, often fairly generic ones on Marketing Research, Consumer Behaviour and International Marketing. However, sorting the results by publication allows us to identify the most important journal outlets. Below, you will find screenshots with the most frequently occurring journals in this search, with a brief discussion of the results for each.

Journal of Business Ethics

The Journal of Business Ethics is the most frequently mentioned journal in our search. The screenshot below shows some of the most cited papers. Although there are a number of papers relating to marketing, most of the papers seem to deal mostly with general business ethics. Even so, this could be an option for Marketing academics who want to reach out to a more general audience interested in ethics.


Journal of Macromarketing

The second most frequently listed journal in our search is Journal of Macromarketing. The screenshot below shows all of the hits in order of the number of citations. The first article in the list is the most frequently cited journal article in the entire search. Unfortunately, this is partly caused by a Google Scholar fluke that attributed the citations to the original 1986 article to the 2006 update, similar to aggregating citations to new editions of a book. Even so, it is still the most cited article on the topic if we relax the “last ten years” restriction.


The journal has also published a range of other highly cited papers in this field and as such might be an appropriate outlet. However, much of the published research seems to focus on high-level societal issues, quality of life or consumer well-being. This is also reflected in its editorial statement: “The Journal of Macromarketing examines important social issues, how they are affected by marketing, and how society influences the conduct of marketing.” Whether or not this suits your paper obviously depends on its topic.

European Journal of Marketing

The journal with the third largest number of hits to the search for keywords ethical marketing was the European Journal of Marketing. The screenshot below shows all resulting papers in order of number of citations. Unfortunately, Google Scholar sometimes abbreviates the title of a journal (see the first five hits, see also Google Scholar: Truncation). This means that the citation order is not perfect as it starts again with the first article for the non-abbreviated journal title, i.e. the “Grounded theory…” article has more citations than most of the preceding articles. However, as we are mainly interested in journal outlets at the moment, this is not a serious problem.


Perusing the titles, it is clear that the European Journal of Marketing has a rather broad focus, publishing papers in a variety of areas in marketing. This is reflected in its mission statement: “We welcome novel and ground-breaking contributions from a wide range of research traditions within the broad domain of marketing”. This statement also mentions: “The EJM is receptive to controversial topics, and new, as well as developments that challenge existing theories and paradigms.” Hence, at first glance, this might not be a bad outlet for a topic that is not yet part of the mainstream in Marketing.

Journal of Consumer Marketing

As shown in the screenshot below, the Journal of Consumer Marketing has also published a substantial number of papers containing the key words ethical marketing in the past decade. Not surprisingly, most of these papers focus on the ethical consumer. Hence this journal would be a very appropriate outlet if your paper focused on the ethical aspects of consumer behaviour.


Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

Another article with a fairly large number of papers on this topic is Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Perusing the article titles, its topics appear to have some overlap with the Journal of Macromarketing. This is confirmed when we look at its editorial statement: Journal of Public Policy & Marketing has adopted the noteworthy mission of publishing thoughtful articles on how marketing practice shapes and is shaped by societally important factors such as ... Hence it appears as if these two journals would be particularly appropriate if your paper focused on the societal issues surrounding ethical marketing.


Journal of Marketing education

A rather surprising discovery was the fact that the Journal of Marketing Education had published a fairly large number of papers in this area. Hence if your paper had any links to marketing education or investigated perceptions of marketing students, this might be an appropriate outlet for your article.


Journal of the Academy of Marketing science

In your literature review you had already discovered that the mainstream marketing journals do not tend to publish much in the area of ethical marketing. It should therefore come as a pleasant surprise to see that Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, one of the top general marketing journals, has published four articles on the broad topic in the past decade.


Concomitant with its general marketing status, its editorial statement indicates that articles in a very broad range of topics are acceptable, including ethics and social responsibility. Hence, if you feel your article is of sufficient quality to merit publication in one of the top journals in marketing, this might be an appropriate choice to reach the widest possible audience in the broad field of marketing.

Using the “title words only” box to further refine results

Judging from the titles in the results above, some articles didn’t really seem to have a major focus on ethical marketing, but instead simply mentioned the words somewhere in the article. Another option therefore is to narrow down your results by clicking the Title words only box. The results will only contain articles that have the words ethical marketing in their title, although the words do not necessarily appear close together. The screenshot below produces the results in order of the number of citations.


Comparing the journal titles with our previous results shows that most of the same journals appear in the list. However, there are five new journals that appear on the scene: Journal of Business Research, the Academy of Marketing Science Review, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Ethics & Behavior and Journal of International Marketing. These journals did not feature on our list before as they only published one or two papers on ethical marketing. However, if the titles appear relevant to your paper, they might be worth considering.

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The development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006. Download and use of Publish or Perish is and will remain free (gratis), but your support toward the costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development are appreciated. Your support helps further development of Publish or Perish for new data sources and additional features.