Strategic publishing

Choosing a journal

When you publish your work, it is natural to select the journal where your research findings will have greatest impact. This will probably be the journal that is the best choice as far as the subject is concerned and the one that you know colleagues in your field will read. However, there are other factors to consider.

The first thing you should ensure is that the journal you intend to publish your work in is covered by the major bibliographical databases, for example, Medline, Web of Science, Cinahl or Psycinfo. To find out which journals are covered by the various databases, look first of all in the database in question. The journals that are covered by Pubmed/Medline are found in NLM Catalog.

Important: check that the field Current Indexing Status says "Currently indexed for MEDLINE"!

For overall information about journals in general and the databases that they are included in, we recommend Ulrichsweb. Search for the journal's name and click on the tab Abstracting & Indexing.

Remember that Karolinska Institutet's bibliometrics database, which is used in part to allocate resources, is made up of citation data from Web of Science. Therefore, it is important for you and your department that the journal is included there.

Furthermore, the journals' impact factors (JIF) and other indicators are calculated using data from Web of Science. You will find this information in the subdatabase Journal Citation Reports. More information about citations, impact factors and other indicators is found under bibliometrics.

Another aspect to consider is whether your research funder stipulates open access publishing. You can read more about the research funders' requirements on our page on licensing when publishing open access.

The journal should also, of course, be relevant according to your research topic. To receive suggestions for journal to publish in, you may use JANE – Journal/Author Name Estimator. Just copy and paste an abstract and retrieve a list of journals in your research area.

Other factors of interest are the proportion of manuscripts that actually are published, the journal's processing time – from submitted manuscript to published article – and if the journal accepts the type of article (guideline, case study, review etc.) that you have written.

Guidelines from Karolinska Institutet

In order for Karolinska Institutet's research to have optimal impact, the following recommendations were published in 2011:

  • Prior to each publication, do a background check of the journal you plan to submit your article to; it should be covered by Web of Science.
  • Check the journal's impact factor and consider whether you can choose a journal with a higher value.
  • In most cases, one well-cited publication gives a better result on the bibliometric indicators than several publications with low citation levels.
  • Verify all your publications. This is important for the quality of the database and there is an explicit intention that the choice of bibliometric measurements is designed so that if you verify all your publications, this will give a cumulative positive effect.

Read the recommendations in full (pdf). (N.B. New updated adressing recommendations can be found below.)

Questionable publishers

There are a number of unprincipled publishers and journals (often referred to as predatory publishers) that are after the authors’ publication fees but that offer no rigorous and reliable peer review. 

How can I be sure that the scientific journal is a serious, professional one?

The key is to make sure that the journal to which you intend to submit your manuscript is of sufficient quality as regards the peer review process. You could even say that a journal’s editorial work (including peer review) is a measure of its quality. All serious databases have solid quality control routines. If a journal is included in, e.g. the Medline, Web of Science, Cinahl or Psycinfo databases, it is a good indication that it has met the minimum quality standards.

So a very strong recommendation is to see if your intended journal is covered by a serious database; this is also an advantage in terms of your article’s visibility, as researchers generally look for relevant literature in these very databases.

Does this recommendation apply to all scientific disciplines?

Not all research fields at KI are strictly medical. Demanding that your intended journal is covered by the Web of Science and/or Medline, for instance, is therefore neither particularly fair or realistic. There are research fields, such as health economics, innovation diffusion or radiation physics, that are not so widely represented in Web of Science and/or Medline.

However, even in these cases, you must take pains to ensure that your chosen journal is in a database that is relevant to the subject and that has proper quality control routines regarding editorial procedures and peer review. It is worth mentioning in this context that the popular search engine Google Scholar does not impose such demands. 

If a journal is included in a serious database, the risk of being published in an unprincipled, predatory journal is minimal.

Naturally, using such a publisher to publish one's article will not give any merit points and the publisher's activities can in certain cases be seen as pure swindle. Can you trust the journal you are submitting your manuscript to? Contact the Library Publication Support or use the checklist written by publisher and library organisations:
  • Predatory publishers – better safe than sorry. Interview with our former colleague Anders Wändahl.
  • Stefan Eriksson & Gert Helgesson. The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics. Med Health Care Philos. 2016 Oct 7.
  • Cabell's blacklist helps researchers identify questionable journals. Scientific journals are systematically evaluated on the basis of a number of criteria. The specific reason(s) is given for why a journal is included.
  • A list of unserious journals and publishers can be found at the web site Stop Predatory Journals. The list is based on the work done by Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the University of Colorado. As a individual researcher, you can contribute to the list by adding unserious journals and publishers.
  • The University of Borås has published a guide that can help researchers to assess whether a publisher is serious or not.

Addressing recommendations

A not insignificant number of the publications verified in the Karolinska bibliometric system as written at KI/Region Stockholm, are missing a recognizable KI/Region Stockholm address on the publications themselves. Such publications cannot be identified as KI/Region Stockholm publications in bibliometric analyses performed outside of KI/Region Stockholm. For example, they will not generate government funds or affect output indicators in rankings.

Therefore, in 2015 the following recommendations were decided by the Research Strategy Committee:


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