How do I find scientific journals

Choosing a journal: How do you find a suitable journal for the publication of scientific results?

Internal and external requirements that must be taken into account

The selection of a suitable journal is the starting point of a publication process. It is not uncommon for the journals that are suitable for the publication of scientific results to be specified by the faculty or the head of a research group, for example. The first step in selecting a publication organ should therefore be to inquire about internal guidelines.

If research results are published as part of third-party funded projects, there are more and more specifications from the funders. These primarily relate to the free access to results. Some funders now have mandates that determine the extent to which results from the funded third-party funded projects must be published in Open Access. In general, it is advisable to look through the funding conditions of the respective project or to inquire directly with the funding agency.

As a rule, there is no obligation to publish scientific results. There are also special regulations for projects whose results are subject to confidentiality.

See also

Funding: What requirements do funders make with regard to Open Access?

To select suitable journals for a publication

There are different ways to search for magazines. Below we list a few ways you can identify relevant journals.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The DOAJ currently lists more than 13,000 open access journals. You can search for subjects and other criteria.

The DOAJ only lists those journals that pursue an open access business model in which neither readers nor their institutions are financially burdened. In addition, the journals must enable users to read, download, copy, distribute, search for and link to the full text of the articles. In addition, only those journals are taken into account that appear regularly - namely more than once a year - and have implemented a quality assurance procedure. Quality assurance is guaranteed either by the editors and / or a peer review process. The issues of the journal must be numbered and dated consecutively and contain individual articles.

The DOAJ only lists journals that have been reported by the publishers. Therefore, the list is not necessarily complete.

Electronic Journals Library (EZB)

The electronic journals library contains a list of digitally published journals. Due to the search functions and, in particular, the possibility of restricting subject areas, the platform is also suitable for researching suitable journals for a publication. If the search is restricted to journals whose full texts are freely accessible, you can also use this to find open access journals. The detailed view for each journal provides information on whether it is an open access journal. For more information, see the website of the individual journals. Further links are provided by the ECB. Through a cooperation with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), journals recorded there are marked accordingly in the EZB.

Web of Science

In order to find a suitable journal in the interdisciplinary database Web of Science, it is advisable to enter relevant keywords from the field of work and to look in the "Refine Results" bar on the right under "Sources" to see which journals publish articles on this topic.

Clarivate Analytics now also offers a search option on its website for open access journals that are listed in the Web of Science. To overview

The Web of Science can only be used if an institution has licensed the database and users are in the IP area of ​​their institution or can access it from outside via "remote access".



An alternative to the Web of Science is the Scopus database, which also records journal articles from different subject areas. Here too, relevant journals can be identified by entering key words. In addition, a search for journals is offered, in which a technical limitation can be made (under “Browse Sources”). Here it is also possible to limit the search to open access journals.

Scopus can only be used if an institution has licensed the database and users are in the IP area of ​​their institution or can access it via remote access.

List of journals in PubMed Central

The list of journals in the PubMed Central database, the electronic archive of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), is also ideal for research in the life sciences. This also informs when the articles in a journal will be made open access.

Magazines published by ZB MED

ZB MED publishes a series of open access journals for specialist societies via the German Medical Science (GMS) platform, which are organized in the Working Group of Scientific Medical Societies (AWMF).

Selected open access publishers or publishers with an open access program in the life sciences

Academic journals
Bentham Open
BMJ Open
BioMed Central
Copernicus Publications
De Gruyter Open Access
Elsevier Open Access Journals
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Medknow Publications
Oxford Open
PLoS One
PLoS Medicine
Taylor & Francis Open Journals
Wiley Open Access

The list is not closed, but is primarily intended to provide orientation.

Hybrid business model

Many publishers offer to publish articles from subscription journals against payment of the publication fee Open Access, for example in order to meet the requirements of funders. This is known as a hybrid business model. Information on the relevant programs and the magazines for which the relevant options are available can be found on the publisher's websites.

The hybrid business model allows open access publication in journals that are not pure open access journals. More and more publishers are now offering a corresponding option. Authors who would like to publish in a journal that is not a pure open access journal should inquire about a corresponding option.

Note: The hybrid business model is not without controversy, as it is accompanied by the fear that the income from the publication fees will not be sufficiently offset against the subscription fees (this is also known as "double dipping"). Therefore, these journals are not listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). In general, however, the hybrid business model is accepted. However, individual research funding institutions do not finance publications in journals that are funded according to the hybrid business model.

Selected scientific publishers with life science programs and open access options

Inderscience Publishers
Karger Author’s Choice
Oxford Open
Sage Choice
Springer Open Choice
Wiley OnlineOpen, for authors at German institutions see also the Wiley DEAL information page

See also

Funding: What requirements do funders have regarding Open Access?

Start of a new magazine

Especially in disciplines that are developing dynamically, not all topics are covered by the content spectrum of the existing journals. In these cases, a start-up may be advisable. ZB MED supports this with various services in the PUBLISSO publication portal.


Please note: Our service cannot offer binding legal advice, but provides information for initial orientation. ZB MED - Information Center for Life Sciences has carefully checked the information on the following pages, but accepts no liability for possible errors. Unless otherwise stated, statements on individual legal standards refer to German law (as of FAQ 07/2019).