This article explains how publishing algorithms can help authors to select an appropriate professional journal for manuscript submission.

Using Internet Algorithms to Identify Journals for Manuscript Submission

One vital step an author makes before publication is deciding on the right journal for manuscript submission. This is important because there are thousands of journals to select from. They all have different publishing criteria and appeal to different audiences. This article outlines some proven methods to guide journal selection.

Methods and Websites to Identify Potential Journals:

There are several useful websites to select the best journal for your manuscript:

  • Journal Author Name Estimator (JANE)
  • Journal Guide
  • Major Healthcare Publishing Companies
  • INternational Academay of Nursing Editors (INANE)

Journal Author Name Estimator (JANE)

For an unbiased overview to get started, the first stop should be to Journal Author Name Estimator, most often recognized as JANE.

 The image below shows the JANE webpage with a blank space where information about the prospective journal article can be added. If the abstract is already written, copy and paste the abstract into the space. The website can also search for authors and similar articles to help with the literature review.

The JANE algorithm can also search by keywords. For example: five phrases were entered into the abstract space and the results are shown below:

  1. Nursing care,
  2. Pressure Ulcer Management,
  3. Elderly,
  4. Improved outcomes,
  5. Research.

JANE selects journals and articles from PubMed, so these journals will be peer-reviewed and will not be “predatory journals” (described in a prior Discovery article).
 The image below shows the results of the 5-item search listed above. From this page it is possible to retrieve individual articles as shown in the second image.

Journal Guide

A second search option is the Journal Guide:

The same 5 phrases were entered into the abstract space, which produced a list of 28 potential journals. The top of the list is shown below.  The list of journals is slightly different, and it does not have a direct link to the articles. However, Journal Guide has a link to connect to the author submission page that is helpful to understand journal requirements.


Major Healthcare Publishing Companies

Another option is to explore the webpages of the major healthcare publishing companies, as each has a journal search engine page. Because all the editorial webpages have a similar format this information is presented in a table. Copy the link into a web browser of your choice and explore. Obviously, each publisher presents their own journals in the results.

Publisher Journal Search Weblink
Springer BMC Journals
Lippincott / Williams & Wilkins


INternational Academy of Nursing Editors (INANE)

Alternatively, a very different type of search is to look at nursing journals where editors are members of the INternational Academy of Nursing Editors (INANE). These are often nursing society journals. The weblink is:

From the main webpage, click on the “Journals Directory” label to see an impressive pictorial list of all of the nursing journals on the site.  The name of the journal editor is listed with a link to send an email enquiry. It can be helpful to know if the journal is planning a special issue on a topic that matches your interests and expertise. Most of these journals have both a print and an online version. Below is an example of one section of this extensive directory.


Submission Requirements – Instructions for Authors
Creating a list of possible journals is the first step. The next is to go to the journal website and find a section titled “Instructions for Authors”, “Submission Requirements” or similar. Each journal will have different and very specific instructions for the papers they accept. Specifics minimally include the following:

  • Word limit for title
  • Word limit and format for abstract
  • Word limit and format for articles (this may vary depending on submission type)
  • Table limit
  • Figure limit
  • Reference list format
  • Conflict of Interest statement

Publisher Copyright or Open Access
A separate decision is whether the authors prefer the paper to be copyrighted to the publisher or to be open access and the authors retain the copyright for their paper. There are financial considerations because open access generally costs several thousand dollars. This information is available on the journal website and authors need to be aware of publication policies before submission.

Peer Review
Reputable journals send manuscripts out for peer review before acceptance.  Peer reviewers are typically volunteers with expertise in the content area. Reviewers provide feedback on the manuscript and can offer helpful suggestions to make the paper stronger. However, if a manuscript is atypical for the journal, it may receive a less favorable review. Finding the correct match using the websites listed above can help avoid this.

New web-based algorithms simplify the process of selecting a journal for manuscript submission and may even suggest some journals that are new to the author. The websites listed in this article are peer-reviewed for PubMed (JANE, Journal Guide, Major Healthcare Journals), or are nursing journals predominantly associated with nursing professional organizations (IINANE). Finally, even if publication is not the immediate aim, putting keywords into the text box can be a fruitful way to discover new publications for the future and to extend the literature review capacity.

Article By: Mary E. Lough

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