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Publishing Strategy

Tags: English, General

Journal identification by database searching

Journal identification by database searching

When searching for a specific subject by keywords you can, by using the limit or filter functions of the database, see how the search result is distributed over journals. The idea is that you can identify which journals cover most articles within the subject of your search. You might consider limiting your search to only cover the latest ten or five years to be as updated as possible.

Example in the database Scopus

We start by searching with keywords (it might be a phrase or single words). Depending on the specificity of your search your results may vary. If you get too few hits you should search a bit broader. 

Example of search terms in the database Scopus.


Then you should consider limiting the years of the search results. In this case, we choose (a bit arbitrarily though) the latest eight years and click on Limit to.

Screenshot of how to limit to different years in Scopus.


Under the heading Source title, we can see how many articles are distributed over journals. Those journals should be scrutinized further by looking at their websites etc. (see section 3. Analyze the Journals).

Screenshot of number of articles in different journals in Scopus.


Example in the database Web of Science

In the database Web of Science, you can perform more or less the same kind of journal identification as in Scopus and other databases. But they also have a function called Analyze results with which you can download the results as a text file.

We start by making a similar search like the one we did in Scopus. Using the Topic field we will search among article titles, abstracts and keywords.

Screenshot of search terms in the database Web of Science.


If we want to limit the search result by years we can do that under Publication Years. If we want more years to limit with we click on More options/values. Finally, we click on Refine.

Screenshot of how to choose certain years in Web of Science.


We can then click on the link Analyze Results in the upper right corner:

Screenshot of the Analyze results option in Web of Science.


We choose to produce a list of journals in descending order, ranked by the number of articles covered by each journal, by selecting Source Titles and click on Analyze. I can also choose how many journals I want to see as well as download the list as a text file (.txt) with the button Save Analysis Data to File:

Screenshot of journal analyzis in Web of Science.


Additionally, you can in most databases also limit your search to a certain broad subject category if you have searched for a term that is used in many different disciplines. You may also do this by using delimiting keywords.