The whole point of writing your article is to get published. A little planning and research before you submit can save you from both the heartache and headache of rejection.
Here are some things to consider:
If you already have a journal in mind, go straight to the journal publisher's website for info. Each journal will have its own information page with a scope note, information about journal submission, and access to the table of contents and abstract of current issue as well as older issues.
Below is a list of some of the largest academic publishers in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
Below are a couple of online resources that you can use to help you identify and learn about journals in your discipline.
When is comes to journal rankings, the sciences and sometimes the social sciences take a different approach from the humanities.
In the humanities, journals are ranked qualitatively. It's all based on general observation and opinion. A humanities journal is nothing without a good reputation, which is often tied to the prestige of the editor, editorial board, and authors, as well as the journal's impact on the field in the past, present and future.
The sciences and social sciences rank their journals quantitatively. Data on the influence of a journal is rigorously collected and analyzed and the major resource for this data is Journal Citation Reports (JCR). This is a subscription resource available through the Web of Knowledge database.
The JCR reports on a journal's rank and Impact Factor. A journal's rank is calculated by dividing the number of citations a journal's articles received in one year by articles published by the journal in the previous two years.
The journal Impact Factor is the average number of times articles from the journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year. The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citation in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years.
It's important to be aware of a journal's rank and Impact Factor, but don't obsess about publishing in a journal with the highest rank and Impact Factor. Starting at the top sounds like a good idea, but I find that people who start in the middle get a better return on their investment.