When selecting a journal you’ll want to avoid illegitimate or low-quality journals. Librarian Jeffrey Beall coined the term "predatory publishers" for illegitimate journals who's goal is to make money with no regard for circulating your work; they rely on author fees rather than subscription to make money. Low-quality journals lack malicious intent; however these journals do, for any number of non-nefarious reasons, have lower circulations and aren’t indexed in the places your peers look, so you work won’t have a chance to impact the scholarly community.
Things to keep in mind:
There are wonderful legitimate open access journals but predatory publishers usually pose as open access journals.
New Journals have a high failure rate
Prestigious university presses and large commercial publishers are more stable.
Is the journal indexed in well-known articles? (predatory publisher will lie about where they’re indexed so you’ll to verify)
Be wary of spam emails asking you for manuscripts, money and promising a fast publishing turnaround time.
It takes a while for legitimate journals to review, edit and publish articles so if the turn around time sounds too good to be true it usually is.
Do not rely on journal websites for impact factors stats because predatory publisher list fake stats.
Archived link to Jeffrey Beall's Predatory Publisher black list
Style & Methodology
When choosing a journal, read articles published by that journal and ask yourself if the writing style and research methodologies are similar to yours.
For example, if all the articles are about studies with large sample sizes maybe your study done with a smaller sample size isn’t the right fit. Or perhaps you’re writing a survey of the literature and all the articles in the journal are original research.
OA is an option for authors looking for the freedom to share their work with more researchers by removing subscription paywalls and publisher's rights.
For more information about OA concerns and considerations explore this OA guide.
Submission Etiquette - Don’t submit your work to more than one journal at a time. You have to wait to hear back from one journal before you can submit your work to another editor.
Therefore, before submitting your article, try to ascertain the acceptance rate to estimate your odds of being published and learn the average turnaround time to estimate when you can expect to see the article in print.
Acceptance Rates- here are a few ways to ascertain the acceptance rate:
Look for the Journal in Cabells databases, often the acceptance rate is listed
Do the math: Even if the acceptance rate isn’t provided, you can estimate it by inquiring about the number of articles submitted per year and compare that figure with the number of articles published per year.
When you can expect to hear from the editor if your article has been accepted or not? You may wait 3-6 month to learn if your work has been accepted.
Contacting the Publisher
When you think you’ve found a journal you can email the editor with your topic to see if they are interests in publishing that subject. While this isn’t a formal submission you have opened the lines of communication so don’t email multiple editors at the same time and be ready to submit your article because the editor might say, ‘yes have it to me by the end of the month.’
Other Questions to ask Editors
How many submission does the journal receive? - this will help you calculate the acceptance rate.
What is the turnaround time (how long before you’ll hear if the article was accepted)
Once an article is submitted how long before it goes to print (aka is there a backlog)
TIP: Consider viewing publisher websites that provide tips for authors.