Choosing a publisher , Te kōwhiri kaitā pukapuka

Learn about choosing a journal to submit an article to, or publisher to publish your book with. Find out how to identify fraudulent publishers.


Journals that have already published in your specific field of research are more likely to accept work that continues the ongoing conversation between authors.

If you are new to publishing and want to identify some good journals to publish in, ask your research colleagues or supervisor for some recommendations.

You can also use the databases Scopus or SciVal to identify the journals publishing on your topic. Note that this method identifies only journals indexed in these databases.

Find journals using Scopus

Use Scopus to find journals.


Search using keywords relevant to your specific topic. You may need to experiment with broader or narrower searches to get a good set of search results.

Limiting results

In the left hand column of the results, you will see a limit for Source Title. The journals that have published the most articles matching your search terms appear at the top of this list.

There are several ways you might use this source title information.

  • You can limit your search to each journal under Source Title to see exactly what, when and which authors that journal has published on the topic.
  • You can find more information about each journal from the results. In Scopus, click on the journal title link in each article record.

Use the list as a starting point for further investigation, particularly on journal ranking and impact.

Also in the left hand column, look at the Year. You may want to limit by this, as you will want to identify journals that are continuing to publish in this area.

Graph of results

For a graphical view of the results, in Scopus click on Analyze Results at the top of the result list.

Find journals using SciVal

SciVal is a research assessment/bibliometrics tool that can be used to find journals to publish in, identify current and potential collaborations, and more.


Use SciVal to find:

  • journals actively publishing in your research area
  • trending or growing topics in your research area
  • potential collaborators in your field of research

Read our guide to SciVal for more information.

Quality and reputation of journals

If you are considering publishing in a specific journal, carry out these checks, unless your journal is very well-known.

  • To see where the journal is ranked in your field, check the journal’s ranking
  • Check which article databases in your field index the journal. Either search for the journal’s title in a database or in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
    Most well-regarded journals should be indexed by the standard article databases in your area of research.

If the journal does not appear on any of the ranking lists, and particularly if it isn’t indexed in relevant article databases, you might need to do further checks.

  • Editorial board: On the journal’s website, check the editorial board. Who is on it? Do you know, or know of them? What are their credentials, their research background?
  • Peer review policy: Is it clear and well laid out? Does it look robust?
  • Established authors: Who has already published in previous issues – are established authors publishing in this journal? Even new journals should have some established scholars submitting articles.
  • Citations: Check how many citations the journal’s articles have received. If articles from that journal are not cited, why would yours be any different?

Failing some of these checks may only indicate a poor quality journal or a very new one, rather than a fraudulent one.


Unlike journal publishers, there are no ranking lists or evaluative analyses for book publishers. When deciding which book publisher to choose, it’s a good idea to:

  • ask your research colleagues for opinions on book publishers they have worked with or know about
  • search Discover using keywords relevant to your research topic to identify publishers who are publishing books in your topic area. In the left hand column of your results, use the Source Types filter to limit your search to books only.

Go to Discover

Book publisher’s quality and reputation

There are a number of things you can do to check for a book publisher’s quality and reputation. You can:

  • ask your research colleagues if a book publisher is prestigious or reputable in your discipline
  • consider the publisher’s history, including how long they’ve been in business and what type of books they publish
  • check the credentials of the editor if your work will be part of a collection of edited works.

You can also search Discover using the publisher’s name to see if the library owns books from that publisher in your research area.

In the left hand column of your results, click the filter Library collection – excluding articles. If the library doesn’t own books from that publisher, you might be cautious.

Go to Discover

It’s also a good idea to carefully read the publisher’s contract terms. Avoid any publisher that expects you to pay to publish, or who does not sell or market your book. Do you have to sign over the copyright? What author rights do you retain? Get good advice on contracts from colleagues and others with book publishing experience.

Learn more about copyright and copyright transfer agreements

Fraudulent or predatory journals and publishers

Many low-quality and fraudulent (also known as ‘predatory’) journals thrive in the current publishing environment, where online journals can be created quickly and easily.

Publishing in predatory or fraudulent journals can damage your research reputation.

Think. Check. Submit. can help you to identify trusted publishers for your research.

Look for these warning signs of predatory or fraudulent publishers:

  • spelling, grammatical and typographical errors on the publisher’s website
  • evidence of poor research quality in the journal’s articles
  • poor copy-editing in the journal’s articles – reference lists are good places to pick this up
  • extremely broad scope of the journal, for example all of the social sciences
  • a publisher that is difficult to contact – lack of physical addresses, unprofessional email addresses
  • a spotty or non-existent publishing history – the journal’s website should allow you to trace volumes and publishing dates back to volume 1 in an unbroken run, or provide a full archive
  • unreliable metrics, or based on the journal’s own calculations
  • use of unsolicited email inviting submissions
  • misleading claims, for example the editorial board has weak links to the professed country of origin of the journal.

Be very wary of email invitations to publish, particularly if you’re not very advanced in your career. Recent PhD graduates are often targeted by exploitative publishers.

While theses do get published by legitimate publishers, those publishers will ensure the thesis is revised and re-edited first to a high standard.

Some fraudulent journals will list reputable scholars on their editorial board without their knowledge. It’s worth checking if you’re suspicious. A member of an editorial board should be happy to talk about their relationship with that journal.

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