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I am looking for proper journals to publish my paper. I took a look at journals of references I used in my paper. Since the scope of my paper is the same as those references, I thought I should also send my paper to those journals.

I tried Elsevier journal finder. However, when I sorted according to match relevance, none of the journals that reference papers published in showed up in search results. In fact, my search results and that for references are the same.

Its normal that even though a journal is very related to scope of author's paper, the author could still prefer to publish in different lower impact factor journal to save review time and get acceptance quickly. But one of the references I am talking about published in high impact factor journal although that journal does not show up in search results when I input title and abstract.

Does this show that journal finder is not on point yet or that some authors somehow can break scope of journals?

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Keep in mind that Elsevier's journal finder indexes only Elsevier journals. This means that if the articles you referenced are from other publishers like SAGE, Taylor & Francis, EmeraldInsight, Mary Ann Liebert, etc. then these journals will not show up regardless of how high impact they are.

You can try to look at different journal finders that are publisher specific like Springer: https://journalsuggester.springer.com/

Or the more general ones that indexes from various publishers like JANE Biosemantics (this one only indexes Pubmed I believe, so the vast majority of journals will be health or medicine oriented): http://jane.biosemantics.org/

Or JournalGuide (this is my go-to): https://www.journalguide.com/

But even general finders like JournalGuide will often miss a few journals that are highly relevant to your article because of various reasons like: 1) the journal isn't indexed for the engine or 2) the key words didn't get picked up.

That being said, it's normal for many researchers to not go for the top of the top journals because it's fairly obvious that the articles will not be accepted. For instance, it can just be a waste of time and (dare I say) foolish to try to publish a small-scale study at top journals like Nature, Science, or Lancet that often seek out cutting-edge research at the forefront of their fields. It's good to aim high, but sometimes it's advantageous to be realistic about where your manuscript is most likely to find a home (in both content fit and level of originality/rigor/etc.).

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