How to choose a Target Journal for a Scientific Article? Part 3 – Article Categories, Time Lags and
Following consultations with senior colleagues, use of online search engines and focusing the list of target journals based on the target audience, it is important to take some technical aspects into consideration.
First – The categories of articles accepted for publication in the journal, which can be found on the journal’s website (usually in the "aims and scope" tab). For example, some journals do not publish case reports, some do not publish brief communications, a few do not publish review articles and others only publish invited reviews.
Second - Publication time-lags. The process of publication of a scientific article takes time, there is data showing that the median time lag between the conclusion of a clinical study and the publication of its results in a peer-reviewed scientific journal is 21 months [Ross JS, et al. BMJ. 2012;344:d7292]. Journals differ in the lag- time between article submission and the decision whether to publish it, as well as in the length of the period between the final decision to publish and the publication itself. General information on the speed of the process can be found on the journal's website (usually in the "about the journal" tab). In addition, information about the submission date and the date of publication is available on Pubmed for articles published in certain journals. When the list of target journals has been reduced to a few potential targets, it is wise to survey a sample of similar articles published in these journals and see how they rank on the index of time-lag between submission and publication.
Finally – The Impact factor, which I have previously discussed. The list of potential submission targets that has been focused according to the target audience and article category, can be sorted based on the impact factor and, taking the publication speed into account, the order of submission can be decided.
It is important to remember that most of the articles do not get accepted at their first pitch. On the decision-making process in journals - in the next post.