How to choose a Target Journal for a Scientific Article? Part 2 – The target Audience

The target journal for submission should be selected very early in the writing process because the journal has a profound impact on the article’s format and its content. The background reading that guided you throughout the conceptualization and execution of your research, has exposed you to the journals that deal with subjects that are close to yours, but the most important source of guidance on target journal selection is a mentor. The department head, the principal investigator or an experienced colleague can be a big help in deciding where to submit your article based on your goals, the professional realm in which you operate, and best of all, based on an understanding of your specific research.

In the absence of such personal guidance, or in addition to it, you can use an online search-engine based process. The next step after generating a large list of potential submission targets with a search engine is to define the target audience: Does it consist mainly of doctors? Researchers engaged in basic science? People in the Pharmaceutical industry? Policy makers? Is your target audience mostly within the professional community in which you currently operate or is publishing a good opportunity to reach out to other professional communities? Would you like the article to breach the boundaries of the scientific-medical community and reach the general public?

Information that can help filter the list and focus it towards the desired target audience includes:

•The journal’s specified target audience. This information is available in the Aims and scope section that can be found in the “About” tab on the journal's website.

• The publishing model of the journal. This is a financial consideration and also, journals operating under an open access model generally reach a wider audience than those that operate behind a pay wall.

• The publisher. Journals published by big publishers, especially those that are extensions of the leading journals (Science, Nature, JAMA, BMJ and their equivalents) many times benefit from an array of public relations resources that provide a wide exposure of their content including on social media and the general media.

Once the list has been reduced based on the target audience, you can rate the short list based on schedules and the impact factor. On that, in the next post.

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