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.

Publish research data

In parallel with the fact that many research financiers have increased their requirements for openly shared and published research data, the journal publishers also have offers and occasional requirements for publishing data related to the results published in your article.

When choosing a journal, it may be wise to also review in advance how you might make available or publish your data associated with the article / manuscript. Most major magazine publishers have special information pages and recommendations on what data guidelines that apply to them.

A couple of examples of guidelines for publishing research data

  • PLOS Journals Data Policy
    PLOS journals require authors to make all data necessary to replicate their study’s findings publicly available without restriction at the time of publication. When specific legal or ethical restrictions prohibit public sharing of a data set, authors must indicate how others may obtain access to the data.
  • Springer Natures Data Policies
    At Springer Nature we want to enable all of our authors and journals to publish the best research, which includes achieving community best practices in the sharing and archiving of research data. We also aim to facilitate compliance with research funder and institution requirements to share data. To help accomplish this we provide a set of standardised research data policies that can be easily adopted by journals.

If you do not have the opportunity, for example, for ethical and legal reasons, to publish your data openly, you can still create a permanent link to the data and describe where the data is stored and can be requested directly from KI, for example by registering it in SND's metadata directory.

If you want to know more about how you can publish and make your data open, read Publish data and open access on the Research Data Office's (RDO) web pages.

Guidelines from Karolinska Institutet

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

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:

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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