Choosing a title for your journal

Topic lead: Susan Murray, Rebecca Wojturska, Solange Santos
Last updated: 11/07/2023

When starting a new journal, it is crucial to select a distinct and precise title that succinctly represents its scope, aims and focus, sets it apart from others in the field, and will stand the test of time.

The choice of a new journal’s title should ideally link to its scope, aims and focus, by referencing the subject discipline of the journal (see Scope, aims and focus).

Deciding on a title

Before deciding on a title, it is vital to search the ISSN Portal (International Standard Serial Number International – the official journals registration organisation). Ideally, a journal’s title should not be too similar to, or a repetition of, an existing title: this helps avoid confusion or an impression of deliberately trying to become associated with an established journal. Once the publishing entity has come up with a tentative title for the new journal, an internet search for the exact draft title being considered should be carried out to confirm that the chosen option is unique.

Publishers should aim to make journal titles distinctive and memorable, while still keeping them as brief as possible. Important keywords that help identify the journal’s scope, aims or focus should be at the beginning of the title.

Once the journal title has been chosen, tested and checked, it should be registered via the ISSN National Center of the country where you wish to register the journal.

What to avoid

Although using acronyms may be useful for internal purposes, we recommend not including any in the title unless this is essential, for example to identify an official organisational publication.

Changing a journal title after publication has started is extremely inadvisable. The title should be carefully chosen so that it will keep its utility over time. Note that journals need to register for a new ISSN if the title or language are changed.

It is best to avoid starting the title with “The International Journal of…” as this has unfortunately become widely associated with deceptive or fake journals (sometimes known as ‘predatory’ journals).

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