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Lund University

LTH PhD Students Introduction Guide

by librarian Emma-Lisa Hansson

How to evaluate a journal

What is a scholarly journal? Well, scholarly journals are mostly peer-reviewed periodicals. Exchanging scholarly information via journals has a long tradition, besides it’s long history it’s a main way of formal scholarly and scientific communication. Please keep in mind that journals differ widely in scope, topic and perspective, usually with different emphasis on methodological, theoretical or topical aspects within a given field of research! As a new upcoming researcher it might be hard  to differentiate between the journals within the same subject but you can ask your supervisor, or other senior colleagues and they will often have the experience to be able to advice you.

Here are som basics questions when you are about to analyze a journal:

  • Is it a peer-reviewed journal?
  • What is the subject area of the journal?
  • Is it aimed at the audience you want to write for?
  • Do you yourself read articles from this journal?
  • What is the impact factor of the journal?
  • Is the journal ranked in the Norwegian Scientific Index or the Danish BFI Authority List?
  • How quick is the process of acceptance and publication?
  • Is it Open Access?
  • What are the copyright policies?
  • What are the journal’s ethical profile and aims?
  • Are the editor and the members of the editorial board respected researchers in your field?


The h-index is an index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output.