Skip to Main Content
PolyU Library


Top 10 Publishers PolyU Researchers Published with

Related Library Workshops

The Library also offers the following workshops about how to evaluate journals and identify research potentials. Click here to learn more.

  • Publishing 101
  • Using Journal Analyzing Tools to Evaluate Journals
  • Using SciVal to Identify Research Potentials

Related Books

Contact Us

Research Support



In Person   Enquiry Counter, P/F, 
        Pao Yue-kong Library

Workflow to Publish a Journal Article

The figure above illustrates the general procedure of publishing a journal article. In reality, you may need to redo a step couple of times, e.g., peer-review and revision, before your paper finally gets accepted. To publish an article, it usually takes several months up to more than one year from manuscript submission to final publication.

Where to Publish

To publish a journal article, the first step is to select an appropriate journal. It is a good practice to identify one journal you want to submit your manuscript to before you start writing. This is because you are more likely to get published when you write for a specific journal as compared to finish writing and then identify suitable journals for your paper. 

Below lists some tips and library resources that could help you make the decision.

General criteria for journal selection

  • Aims & Scope
    One of the most common mistakes authors make is to submit to a journal that is irrelevant to their paper. Always check the aims and scope of a journal first; understand what the journal is about and who the target readers are; if not sure, write to the Editor.
  • Editors, Editorial Board members
    Know who will be handling and probably reviewing your manuscript.
  • Audience
    Know who will be reading your paper; what is the audience coverage of the journal, e.g., regional, national or international?
  • Publications in recent issues
    Check some sample articles from the recent issues to understand the journal's preferred topics before preparing for your manuscript.
  • Processing speed
    Browse recent publications and view publication history, or check Cabell's Directory (for journals in "Business Directories" and "Psychology" collections only).
  • Open Access policy
    Check whether the journal supports OA (Gold OA or Green OA). Check whether there is Article Process Charge (APC) associated with. Visit this guide to know more about Open Access.

Check whether the journal is peer-reviewed

  • Check journal homepage
    The introduction of the journal will let you know what the journal is about and whether it is a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Check journal profile via major database platforms, e.g., Web of Science,  Scopus,  EBSCOhost,  ProQuest, etc. Search by journal/publication/source title to locate the journal profile via a database platform.
  • Check in Ulrich's Periodicals Directory
    An authoritative source of bibliographic and publisher information on more than 30,000 periodicals of all types academic and scholarly journals, Open Access publications, peer-reviewed titles, etc. Allows searching by journal title, ISSN, subject, publisher, etc.

Check journal impact within a subject area

To evaluate a journal in a specific area, we usually use metrics such as Journal Impact Factor, SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper), SJR (SCImago Journal Rank) and CiteScore. To identify emerging topics in a research area, Essential Science Indicators (ESI) and SciVal are often used.

  • Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
    The most commonly used metric for measuring a journal is the Impact Factor published by JCR every year. Visit this guide to learn how to find Impact Factor in JCR and how to compare journals in a specific field using JCR.
  • Scopus > Sources
    Other available metrics to evaluate a journal are SNIP and SJR and CiteScore from Scopus. Visit this guide to learn how to find SNIP and SJR in Scopus and how to compare journals in a specific field using SNIP and SJR. Visit this guide to learn how to find CiteScore for a journal and the difference between CiteScore and Impact Factor.
  • Essential Science Indicators (ESI)
    ESI is an analytical tool that offers data for ranking authors, institutions, nations and journals. It can also determine influential individuals, institutions, journals in a specific field, as well as identify emerging research topics. ESI uses data extracted from Web of Science.
  • SciVal
    SciVal is another analytical tool that can identify emerging topics in a research area, track collaboration patterns, etc. SciVal uses data extracted from Scopus.  


  1. High Impact Factor does not necessarily equate to the high quality or superior scientific value of the journal. To check the quality of a journal, you may need to check using more than one metric, e.g., use SNIP and SJR as well. 
  2. Different tools may identify different emerging topics in the same research area because the coverage of data sources is different (e.g., SciVal uses data from Scopus, which covers more journals than Web of Science where ESI is extracting data from).
  3. Some departments or schools have created their own list of journals they recommend academics to publish in. Always consult a more experienced author around you to get some tips from their publishing experience.

Auto journal pick-up tools

Some publishers also provide handy tools for picking up the best-fit journals automatically. By typing in your paper's title, abstract, or keywords, the tool will generate a list of best-fit journals for your manuscript. Note that most publishers' journal suggesters will only recommend their journals within their own portfolio. 



EndNote is a reference management tool. Its online version also provides a function to help you find the most suited journal in Web of Science. Before using this function, you need to register an account for EndNote Web. After login, click on the "Match" tab and input a few pieces of your manuscript. The results allow you to check the Impact Factor of the matched journals and similar articles to your manuscript.

EndNote online journal suggester

- Click here to explore other functions of EndNote Online.
- Click here to know what are JCR and Impact Factor.

Many publishers provide helpful guides and tutorials for authors regarding how to get published. Below lists a few examples: (Most of them publish in multidisciplinary fields)

Elsevier - Publishing with Elsevier: step by step

► Springer - How to Publish? - Step by Step (interactive tutorial)
     Nature - Writing for a Nature journal

► IEEE - Publish with IEEE journals, conferences, etc. (mainly in electronic and electrical engineering field)

► Taylor & Francis - Author Services Supporting T&F Authors​

► Wiley - Guideline for Journal Authors

► SAGE - How to Get Published (mainly in education, business and management field)

► Emerald - Author How To Guides (mainly in business and management field)

What to think about before you start to write a journal article?  

- from Taylor & Francis editor

Top 10 reasons to reject a paper

from Taylor & Francis editor

  1. Aims & Scope: Sent to the wrong journal, doesn’t fit the aims and scope, or fails to engage with issues addressed by the journal.
  2. Article type: Not a true journal article (i.e. too journalistic or clearly a thesis chapter or consultancy report).
  3. Length: Too long/too short.
  4. "Instruction for Authors": Poor regard of the journal’s conventions (i.e. haven’t consulted the notes for contributors), or for academic writing generally.
  5. Language: Poor style, grammar, punctuation or English.
  6. Originality: No contribution to the subject.
  7. Application: Not properly contextualised.
  8. Methodology: Poor theoretical framework.
  9. Presentation: Scrappily presented and sloppily proof read.
  10. Ethical issues: Libellous, unethical, rude or lacks objectivity

Getting ISBN for Book Publishing

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique book identifier. It allows efficient and accurate identification of book titles, publishers, and places of publication. In Hong Kong, the Books Registration Office is responsible for all book registrations, including assignment of ISBNs to books. No application fee is required. Relevant forms can be downloaded here.

If you register your publication with the Books Registration Office, you will need to submit 5 copies of each title under the Books Registration Ordinance. This is what you need to do if you publish a book for yourself.  Also, you will need to go to the Books Registration Office in Lai Chi Kok for identification (of documents) and form submission. However, if you ask a publisher to publish your title, they will handle all the necessary procedures for you. Visit the source link below for more details.