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Academic Coaching & Writing

IV. Selecting a Journal That Fits Your Timeline

May 23, 2019 by Dr Sally

In addition to selecting a journal that aligns with your topic, audience, and article type, you need to consider factors such as the journal’s frequency of publication, review turnaround time, and acceptance rate, all of which could have an impact on your career goals. For example, if you are a junior scholar, you may be on the job market or thinking about your upcoming tenure and/or promotion. This could mean you would need to have your article reviewed and published within a certain period of time. If your goal is to publish in a top journal, you may need a longer timeline.

Frequency of Publication

How often does the journal you are considering publish its issues? Is it a yearly, a quarterly, or a monthly publication? In other words, how soon will your article come out once it has been accepted? If you are considering a yearly publication, know that it may take longer for your work to come out, especially if the journal has a backlog. Indeed, articles are usually accepted in line, and if a journal only publishes 20 articles in an issue once a year and you are article number 21, you will have to wait an entire year before your work is published. Note that sometimes journals have backlogs that may delay publication for quite some time. If you are unsure, you should ask when the article would be published once it is accepted. In some cases, if a journal has a backlog for the printed version, the journal might publish articles earlier in an online format to allow for the work to be published sooner. If this is the case, and you know that this online publication would count for your career goals, then you should consider submitting to this journal. It is probably rare not to find a journal without an online edition at this time; however, you may want to see whether the journal publishes solely online or both in print and online. Moreover, if the journal offers an online publication, you may inquire whether there is the possibility of an earlier online publication of your work (ahead of the print version), as it would help get your work out sooner.

Review Turnaround Time

What is the turnaround time for the journal’s review process? In other words, how long does it take for the journal to review an article once it has been submitted? Will it take eight weeks or six months or more? If you are under specific time constraints, you may select a journal that has a shorter turnaround time, as it would align best with your career goals.

Related to the amount of time it takes for an article to be reviewed by a journal is gaining an understanding of its review process. In terms of the timing, if there is an inhouse review, you may be told that you passed this step and that your article was sent out to reviewers after a short period of time. If not, and in some cases even if there is an inhouse review, the editor may not inform you that your paper has been sent out for review to external reviewers. To find out how much time the review process may take, look at the journal’s website, as this information is often included. If not, you could look at whether they indicate how much time they give their reviewers to review the work, as this would provide you with an indication of the time it may take. If you cannot find any information on the journal’s website and you are ready to submit your article, you could reach out to the editor to ask about what you could expect in terms of time to hear back with a decision.

Activity 4: Evaluating Whether Potential Journals Meet Your Timelines

The table below is provided to assist you in evaluating how closely each journal you identified and kept on your list in Activity 3 meets your publication timelines. Print this page and complete the table by hand or create your own online table.

Journal Name. List each potential journal.

Publication Frequency. Review the journal guidelines for authors to determine whether each of your listed journals is published monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Turnaround Time. If article turnaround time is not evident in the journal guidelines, consider asking your advisor, your colleagues, or query the journal editor. Then enter the best estimate of turnaround time in months into the table.

Keep on List. Be sure to indicate in the last column which of your listed journals fit your criteria by indicating “Yes” or “No” in the last column.

Activity 4: Publication Timelines

Journal Name

Publication Frequency
(Mthly, Qtly, Yrly)

Turnaround Time

Keep on List?
(Yes, No)





















By completing the Activity 4 table, you have narrowed your list of potential journals to those that potentially meet your timeline requirements. Now you need to weigh factors that measure the quality and prestige of those journals. The next blog post considers a journal’s impact factor, visibility, and acceptance rate.

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