Scientific Journals: An Overview

Scientific journals represent the most essential methods for spreading scientific discoveries and are generally specialized for various academic disciplines or subdisciplines.

Frequently, the research challenges basic presumptions and the existing literature on a particular topic with the intention of promoting a further understanding of the discipline in question.

Contingent on the approaches of a given journal, articles may incorporate reports of original research, analyses of other’s existing research, reviews of the literature in a particular topic, or recommendations of new yet untested hypotheses.

What to look for in a Scientific Journal

While the research area you are interested in will determine which journals you should read, we have made a checklist for quality that will help you determine whether a scientific journal is worth reading.

  • Make sure it’s indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, Google Scholar, CiteSeer, or somewhere of the like.
  • Clear and coherently themed around a central subject  (No discordant thematic combinations)
  • It has an updated website that includes crucial information for readers AND authors.
  • Has a publically visible editorial board, which consists of trained professors and researchers at accredited universities.
  • Doesn’t attempt to solicit articles before the research is completed with the promise of publication
  • The journal assigns Digitial Object Identifiers to each article (DOI)

Best Scientific Journals to Read

It can be difficult to know where to look to get an understanding of different scientific fields. There are countless journals that focus on a seemingly endless list of research areas, each more specialized than the last. Below we have listed the best Scientific Journals as ranked by Scimago Journal & Country Rank based on the number of citations, social impact, scientific influence, and prestige.

CA – A Cancer Journal for Clinicians

As the flagship journal of the American Cancer Society, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians reaches a diverse group of oncology specialists, primary care clinicians, and other professionals who interact with cancer patients. The journal publishes information about the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer, as well as nutrition, palliative care, survivorship, and additional topics of interest related to cancer care.

Nature Reviews Materials

Nature Reviews Materials is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by Nature Publishing Group. It presents reviews and perspectives, which are commissioned by the editorial team. According to the 2019 Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2019 impact factor of 74.699, ranking it third among all journals in the database.

Quarterly Journal of Economics

The Quarterly Journal of Economics is the oldest professional journal of economics in the English language. Edited at Harvard University’s Department of Economics, it covers all aspects of the field.

Nature Reviews Genetics

The journal publishes Research Highlights, Comments, Reviews, and Perspectives relevant to geneticists and genomicists, with our broad scope ensuring that the articles we publish reach the widest possible audience.

Cell Press

Cell publishes findings of unusual significance in any area of experimental biology, including but not limited to cell biology, molecular biology, neuroscience, immunology, virology and microbiology, cancer, human genetics, systems biology, signaling, and disease mechanisms and therapeutics. The basic criterion for considering papers is whether the results provide significant conceptual advances into, or raise provocative questions and hypotheses regarding, an interesting and important biological question. In addition to primary research articles in four formats, Cell features review and opinion articles on recent research advances and issues of interest to its broad readership in the Leading Edge section.

How do Journals Work?

A manuscript is first submitted to a journal by the author(s) for potential publication. Authors cautiously select a journal dependent on the substance of their article and the targeted demographic. Then the editor decides if the manuscript is within the journal’s scope and is up to the journal’s standard.

All things considered, over 97% of entries to journals distributed by the American Psychological Association, for instance, are alluded to outside specialists for peer review.

What is Peer Review?

Reviewers play a pivotal role in scholarly publishing. The peer review system exists to validate academic work, helps to improve the quality of published research, and increases networking possibilities within research communities. Despite criticisms, peer review is still the only widely accepted method for research validation and has continued successfully with relatively minor changes for some 350 years.

Reviewers are painstakingly chosen based on their scientific expertise, research specialization, and absence of any bias toward the creators of a given research.

The reviewers, who as a rule remain anonymous, present their scrutiny and written critiques to the editor, including regard for the qualities and shortcomings of the research, along with publication proposals and suggestions.

Finally, the editor evaluates the validity of the research taking into the account the recommendations and critiques of the reviewers and determines whether the research should be rejected, revised, or resubmitted for further review.

Knowledge is Power

I hope you enjoyed reading on this topic and that you leave with a better understanding of how scientific journals work and what to look for in a good journal.

If you want to read more, consider checking my article on climate change.