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Publish with us

‘What's the best journal for my paper?' New tool can help

June 5, 2013 | 6 min read

By Hans Zijlstra


Journal Finder has been developed by Elsevier and updated in response to feedback from authors

Getting a research paper published can be a challenge. It's even more challenging when considering the risk of rejection that comes from submitting a paper to a journal that's not the right fit. That's where Elsevier's Journal Finderopens in new tab/window tool comes in.

The Journal Finder tool

  • Helps inexperienced authors to select the correct journals for their papers

  • Helps authors working in multidisciplinary fields identify possible journals

  • Highlights journals that offer open-access options

About the 2019 relaunch

Journal Finder received a significant overhaul in July 2019. Among the updates that were made to the new iteration of Journal Finder are:

  • Additional keyword searching options, with “look ahead” autofill

  • Subject area filter via All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes (as used by Scopus) in a drop-down menu

  • Introduction of new filters and histograms: CiteScore, Impact Factor, time to first decision, time to publication

  • Easier sorting of results on all metrics (default order = best match)

  • Higher output limits: maximum of 50 journals in search results list, instead of 10 in the previous version

  • Three example searches across diverse science areas, for “playing with the tool” in case you have no abstract at hand but want to see how to use it

  • Depiction of journal covers in the results list for easy, visual identification

  • Expandable search results list including open access options, top three readership countries, journal scope details and direct submission link

  • Trend visualization for most metrics, linking to the Journal Insights tool

  • Publication status validation: Journal Finder will automatically check on Scopus if your title/abstract already exists (useful to see if your choice of publication made sense or if you want to check for a similar article for the future)

  • Three recent articles from ScienceDirect for a quick indication what type of articles have recently appeared in the journal You can find out more about the updated Journal Finder here

For inexperienced authors, this is a particular pain point, leading to rejections, adding months to publication and slowing career progress. Nearly a third of visitors to Elsevier's Authors' Home are trying to decide which journal they should submit their paper to.

Meanwhile, editors must sift through many out-of-scope papers when authors choose journals that are a poor match.

Our role is to support authors by getting them published in the best possible journal as fast as possible.

That's where the Journal Finder toolopens in new tab/window comes in. Since its launch, Journal Finder has been used by more than 60,000 users each month.

How Journal Finder works

You can find Journal Finder hereopens in new tab/window.

The tool generates a list of Elsevier journals that match the topic of their abstract. They can then order the results based on their priorities, such as highest CiteScore or shortest editorial time. You can filter the results to those journals that have open-access options.

Since its launch in 2013, JournalFinder has been updated to share information on journal metrics that provide users with additional insights into various characteristics of the journal – things like impact, speed and reach. With this information, authors can make decisions based on the criteria that matter most to them.

You might also be interested in the Journal Insightsopens in new tab/window tool, which provides visualizations of journal metrics covering five calendar years. With this, you can investigate the data further, compare trends and derive considerable insight into journal performance.

What is the Elsevier Fingerprinting Engine?

The Elsevier Fingerprinting Engine is a software system that mines the text of scientific documents – publication abstracts, funding announcements and awards, project summaries, patents, proposals/applications, and other sources – to create an index of weighted terms which defines the text, known as a Fingerprint visualization. The transferability of fingerprinting to other tools in an example of how Elsevier is benefiting from the expertise of Collexis, a semantic technology software developer Elsevier acquired in 2010. Elsevier is using the "fingerprinting" technology for various products for Academic and Government Institutional Markets, including SciVal Experts, an expertise profiling system and research networking tool, and SciVal Fundingwhich helps researchers find funding sources and helps funding agencies find researchers to review grant applications.

The Journal Finder tool uses Scopus and the Elsevier Fingerprinting Engine to locate Elsevier journals that most closely match an author's list of keywords and/or abstracts. An Elsevier journal will be recommended if it has published articles which have a high similarity with the new article. A list of potential journals will be created for authors and the tool will allow filtering based on author's preferred criteria (such as Impact Factor, open-access options, review time, acceptance rate, publication times and frequency).

The final selected journal links directly to the journal's homepage and the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) page. The tool makes recommendations from the 2,500+ journals published by Elsevier.

After being one of the first to test the tool in 2013, Dr. Adrie J.J. Bos, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Radiation Measurementsopens in new tab/window, wrote: "The results matched precisely with my own judgement."

How the idea came about

At Elsevier, we receive feedback from tens of thousands of authors each year. By listening to our authors, we are able to make continual improvements to our services, and design products from the vantage point of the people who will use them. In 2012, we launched the Author Mobile Apps competition, which asked early-career researchers to submit their ideas for journal-based mobile applications. The competition received an overwhelming response, with 3,775 ideas submitted.

By a happy coincidence, the winning idea – a "Scope-finder" that would find the best fitting journal for a paper – had already been identified as a priority for Elsevier and was incorporated into the development of the Journal Finder tool.

Hearing of this need directly from the customer confirmed that we were on the right track and should build such a tool as soon as possible.

The competition winner, Dr. Peter "TJ" Willemsen a research scientists in molecular biology for the Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen University & Research Centreopens in new tab/window in the Netherlands, has tested and endorsed the tool, saying:

Elsevier's Journal Finder tool is helpful for authors in doubt of which journal fits their data. This can occur when it involves an intermediate field of research subjects or when authors are in the early stages of their research career, trying to locate the right journal to publish their manuscript.

Sandra Yee, Dean of the University Library System, Wayne State Universityopens in new tab/window in Michigan, said the Journal Finder tool will help faculty members and librarians by providing "substantive data and more specific information."


Peter "TJ" Willemsen, PhD