I have been asked several times over the last few years (and again on this trip) how to find an appropriate journal to send mathematical results to.
From listening to others in the field, and with my own limited experience, I have culled five suggestions I hear time-and-time again.
1) Look at where previous papers in the same area were published.
When you are reading a math paper, the journals referenced at the end of it (and the journal in which it appears) will give you a place to start.
Pluses: This helps you to understand which journals are read by people in your area. Also, if you are generalizing or solving a problem from a paper published in Journal X, that Journal is likely to be interested in your results.
Minuses: If you are a field with a long history, the journals that you may find over the years may now have significant backlog or have become too popular.
2) Use the “mathscinet” feature of the AMS:
The American Mathematical Society has a massive electronic database available which allows you to search by journal, title and author(s). It can be found at www.ams.org/mathscinet
Pluses: This is a great way to make connections between co-authors, references, and journals.
Minuses: There is a lot of information.
3) Use the impact factor
There is a list of mathematical journal rated by a ratio of number of papers published annually to the number of references acquired by that paper over a subsequent period. Many colleges use impact factor to assess the “impact” of faculty research (including CUNY).
Pluses: This index allows the mathematical community to evaluate a plethora journals with objectivity.
Minuses: The journals with the top impact factor are very hard to get into, and take a long time to respond. Some in the community believe that the journals who publish in specialized areas do not get rated high enough, and many small international journals are not included.
4) Check electronic journals :
With the ubiquity of the web and the push towards green products and open access, a number of electronic journals have been started over the last decade.
Pluses: Electronic journals usually require no subscription, so any interested reader can download published work. E-journals also tend to have a faster turnaround time.
Minuses: The acceptance of electronic journals amongst the mathematical elite has been slow. Most top researchers prefer to publish in establish journals and often don’t check e-journals, preferring instead to look for pre-prints posted on www.arxiv.org (see earlier post about “the arxiv”).
5) Ask experts in the field :
Often I hear of researchers sending pre-prints of articles to peers and experts for their opinion. This may be accompanied by a request for a suggestion on where such an article could be published.
Pluses: This draws on the experience of successful producers of mathematics, who often know the inside politics of various journals, or can suggest a journal you may have never heard of.
Minuses: Sometimes researchers can be discouraging, or hesitant to suggest anything, lest they lead you down a dead end with mistaken advice. Don’t get discouraged if this inquiry is not fruitful.
OK, that’s all I got for now.