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Scientific and Scholarly Writing

Tips and tools for writing scientific and scholarly papers.

Tools for finding a journal for publication

These tools allow you to quickly and easily generate a list of potential peer-reviewed journals to submit a specific manuscript to for publication. Some of the more popular tools include:
  • American Journal Experts JournalGuide
    • From the website: JournalGuide is a free tool created by a group of software developers, former researchers, and scholarly publishing veterans at Research Square. Our goal for JournalGuide is to bring all sources of data together in one place to give authors a simple way to choose the best journal for their research.
  • Elsevier Journal Finder
    • Elsevier® Journal Finder helps identify Elsevier published journals that could be best suited for publishing your article. Searches can be refined by up to three research fields.
  • Scopus
    • Scopus is the largest abstract and citation  database of peer‐reviewed scientific literature. Search the Scopus list of Sources (indexed journals and other publications) by subject area, journal title, or ISSN. Search results include impact metrics such as CiteScore and category rank, and can be exported to Excel.
  • EndNote Manuscript Matcher
    • Enter your manuscript's title and abstract from EndNote online, EndNote X9 desktop software, or even from your manuscript from the Cite While You Write toolbar in Microsoft Word.
  • Journal Author Name/Estimator (JANE)
    • Jane is a tool that is designed to help you choose a journal in which to publish based on the topic of your paper or to identify other authors who publish in the same field.  It is a free resource by the Biosemantics Group located in the Netherlands.
  • Springer Journal Suggester
    • Searches all Springer and BMC journals to help identify the most suitable journal for your research.
  • JOT
    • Explore journals matched to your manuscript's title, abstract, and references. Created by Yale School of Public Health.
  • Journal Identifier Database
    • Identify relevant journals based on subject area(s), keywords, and/or abstract. Free resource from eContent Pro.

Selecting an open access journal for publication

Open access journals have been successfully producing and disseminating high quality research for more than two decades with high impact  journals in a wide range of disciplines. 

Criteria for evaluating an open access journal

  • Have you heard of the journal before?
  • Have you read any articles in the journal? If not, read several articles - do they meet your standards for scientific rigor?
  • Have any of your colleagues published articles in the journal?
  • Do you recognize the members of the Editorial Board?
  • Is the journal published by an established publisher or recognized professional society?
  • Is the journal peer-reviewed? Does the journal provide a description of the review process?
  • Is the journal's standard fee schedule publicly accessible?
  • Is the journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?  DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Does the journal have stated ethical policies and practices? Are the editors guided by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or other best practices?
  • Is the journal indexed in an established and reputable database such as PubMed, Web of Science, or Scopus?

Predatory publishers

Predatory publishers charge fees for open access publishing without providing the editorial and administrative services associated with legitimate journals. They "prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices” (Nature consensus statement, 2019).

These unethical, deceptive or questionable practices include:

  • Eliminating or automating peer review
  • Misrepresenting editorial boards and impact metrics
  • Not submitting content to major indexing and abstracting databases
  • Cloaking APCs until the article has been published
  • Harassing authors to submit manuscripts or submit payment.

Think. Check. Submit


Not all open access journals are predatory. Predatory publishers are an aggressive exception. Authors should evaluate each venue they consider for publication before submitting a manuscript. Use the criteria above and the Think. Check. Submit website to help distinguish an ethical publisher from an unethical one. Follow their journal checklist to assess journals and make sure you choose trusted journals for your research (there is also a book/chapter checklist).

Still unsure? Consult a trusted mentor, colleague or librarian.


What are preprints?

Preprints are research manuscripts that have not been formally published or refined/critiqued through the peer review process. Typically, a preprint is a research article, editorial, review, etc. that is ready to be submitted to a journal for peer review or is under review.

Where to find and post preprints

Preprints are typically deposited in preprint servers such as those shown below, although there are many platforms that archive preprints. Preprints can also be found in PubMed, Google Scholar and other literature databases. 

Learn more about preprints

NIH Preprint Pilot

All preprints that (1) acknowledge direct NIH support and/or have an NIH-affiliated author; and (2) are posted to an eligible preprint server on January 1, 2023 or later are being added to PubMed Central (PMC) on a weekly basis and are receiving a corresponding citation in PubMed to ensure broadest discovery and maximize the impact of NIH research.

NIH awardees can link preprints to their award in My Bibliography and claim them as products of an award on a progress report publication list. Preprints do not fall under the NIH Public Access Policy since they are not peer-reviewed. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, the peer-reviewed manuscript will still need to be submitted through the NIH Manuscript System (NIHMS) by the publisher or author to receive a PubMed Central ID (PMCID).

Finding and evaluating journals