Manuscripts should provide new contribution in the particular field which is listed as the scope of the journal. But is it necessary to cite papers from the particular journal for which I am going to submit my paper?

  • The two questions have different implications, because journals benefit from self-citation. The first question implies the journal will try to manipulate the self-citation rate. Feb 25, 2016 at 8:11
  • "Should I decide the suitable journal for submission based on the papers in references?" In my experience there is usually not enough of a pattern for this to be attempted. Feb 25, 2016 at 8:12

3 Answers 3


You have two different questions here.

Should I decide the “suitable journal” for submission based on the papers in references?

"Yes you should" seems overly strong, but "yes, this is a decent strategy" as a starting point to figuring out where you might want to send the paper. You should look at other factors like how well that journal is rated/cited and respected by people in your field (as a starting point to understanding this, ask your advisor).

Is it necessary to cite papers from the particular journal for which I am going to submit my paper?

Not strictly "necessary" but a very good idea. What's important is that you show how your paper fits in to the work that already exists in the specific field you're contributing to. Probably, some of that work is in the same venue, so you should cite that work and show how yours is related to it. Some reviewers may feel more at ease if they see citations to the same venue and are convinced you've described how your paper is related to the cited works. You should at least be checking your target venue for papers related to yours, so that you aren't seen to be missing on-topic work in that field in that venue, which reviewers may be more likely to be aware of and thinking of as they read your work.

Be aware that when you're describing those prior papers in the field and the gap that leaves, which your paper fills, that you do so respectfully; the authors of those papers (even if the papers are not in the same venue) may be your reviewers.

You should also look at papers in that journal and see how they are structured (in addition to looking at how they are formatted). Is there a particular set of section headings that most or all papers in that journal have? Are they typically in the same order? Is there a common series of points that are made, especially in introduction sections? If so, give your paper the same sections and sequencing, so that you overcome the antibodies that might reject it thinking "this just doesn't look/feel/read like something that gets published here." For formatting, follow the journal's style guide/templates.


is it necessary to cite papers from the particular journal for which I am going to submit my paper?


  • 10
    Somebody actually answered a yes/no question with a yes/no answer... stop the internet.
    – Mindwin
    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:50
  • 3
    But in order to reach the minimum number of characters for an answer he had to repeat the question. Feb 25, 2016 at 16:56
  • 1
    @Mindwin we don't answer yes/no because they are not helpful answers. What we want to know is why is the answer no.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:35
  • @StrongBad I know, I know.
    – Mindwin
    Feb 26, 2016 at 16:52

The two questions you have asked are actually not the same, so I'll answer them separately. To answer your first question, it is not necessary to cite papers from the journal where you plan to submit. You should cite only whatever sources you have used or are relevant to your work, irrespective of where they have been published. If, during your literature search, you happen to come across relevant articles published in your target journal, you can cite them. If not, it is still fine.

Deciding on a suitable journal based on the papers in your reference list is a good idea. This is not because you will have more citations from the same journal, but because the chances of your work matching the scope of the journal is higher. Since the works on your reference list will mostly be closely related to the topic and subject area of your paper, the journals which have published these works will probably have an interest in publishing works on a similar topic. This is a good way to select target journals which will be interested in your work.

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