I'm in the process of selecting an appropriate journal for my article. I short-listed a few journals based on topic coverage, IF and speed of the review process.

I am confused: should I select a journal with higher IF (2.3) published by a non-reputable publisher (MDPI) or should I publish in a journal with low IF (1.2) published by a reputable publisher (IEEE)?

By reputation I mean the reputable publisher (IEEE) is specialized in my area of research and non reputable (MDPI) is an Open Access publisher.

  • @CapeCode I found a lot of discussions regarding MDPI and mostly people are referring to Beall's list of journals. If a journal is already listed in Scopus, Pubmed, has an impact factor and ranked as Q2, then how can we give importance to Beall's list? – MBK Mar 22 '17 at 1:31

Another way to see which is reputable or not, besides the impact factor, is the Editorial Board. Which of these journals have, in your opinion, the strongest Ed.B. (measured by expertise/fame etc). Journals with stronger Ed.B. will guarantee better visibility of your result and, probably, more technical/specialized review process.

You should also know that IF is, sometimes, artificial in the sense that it does not capture the exact quality of the journal. In my field, TCS, there are many highly ranked journals (for example Combinatorica) the impact factor of which is less than many mediocre journals. But does it mean anything? No.

Also, more specialized journals (and hence with lower IF, although that's not always the case) have better visibility on your own field. Submitting your paper in a general purpose journal includes the risk of your paper getting "lost" in otehr unrelated, or borderline related, papers which means high risk of being overlooked by potential readers. You might say that this can be solved by posting it on ArXiv but I found out many interesting papers for my research the way I described above.

At the end of the day, nobody is scrutinizing IF: what matters is how reputable and well known the journal is and how easy or hard is to publish there.


Ultimately you should ask your supervisor or close colleagues which journal they recommend. You can also look at in which journals the top researchers in your field usually publish.

In the absence of better reasons, personally, I would value publisher reputation over the journal's impact factor. Especially in your case since the two journals have comparably low IFs and MDPI is a dubious publisher.

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