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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.
  • 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.


What are preprints?

Preprints are research manuscripts that have not been formally published or refined/critiqued through the peer review process and are often deposited in preprint servers:

Preprint Resources
NIH Preprint Pilot (June 2020- )

During the pilot, NLM will make preprints resulting from research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) available via PubMed Central (PMC) and, by extension, PubMed. The pilot aims to explore approaches to increasing the discoverability of early NIH research results posted to eligible preprint servers. Pilot is running for a minimum of 12 months, starting June 2020.

Preprints can be submitted to the NIH as a product of award but 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).

Predatory Publishing

Predatory Publishers are publishers that charge APCs for Open Access publishing without providing the editorial and administrative services associated with legitimate journals.  Predatory publishers engage in unethical or questionable practices to solicit and process content, such as:

  • 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.

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. There are several resources to help authors distinguish an ethical publisher from an unethical one.

Finding and Evaluating Journals

Open Access Publishing Models

Open Access publishing enables the free, immediate, and online availability of research and scholarly products. Open Access journals have been successfully producing and disseminating high quality research for over a decade. The Directory of Open Access Journals currently lists over 11,000 vetted Open Access Journals.

There are different business models that support Open Access publishing.

  • Full Open Access journals make all of their content immediately openly available at the time of publication.  These journals do not operate on a traditional subscription model but instead levy Article Processing Charges (APCs) to cover publication costs. Note that not all Full Open Access journals impose APCs.
  • Hybrid Open Access journals are subscription-based journals which give authors the option to purchase immediate open access to their papers. Only those papers that have paid-APCs will be openly available at the time of publication. Hybrid journals are effectively paid twice for their Open Access content. APCs for both Full Open Access and Hybrid Open Access range between $500 and $5,000.
  • Embargoed Open Access journals are subscription-based journals that make their content openly available after a limited embargo period. In this model, new content is only available to subscribers, while older content is openly accessible. There are no APCs for embargoed content.  

publishing OA

How Open Is it? Open Access Spectrum Guide


How Open Is it? Open Access Spectrum Guide


The HowOpenIsIt? Open Access Spectrum Guide identifies the core components of Open Access (OA) -- readers' rights, reuse rights, copyright, author posting, automatic posting, and machine readability -- and how they are implemented in journals.  Its aim is to help authors make informed decisions on where to publish based on journal policies.