Top 5 Journals That Every Life Sciences Researcher Must Consider While Journal Selection

Journal selection is a crucial process of research publishing. Not only does it mark the beginning of the publishing process, but it also determines the manuscript drafting process. Failure to comply with a journal’s guideline can lead to the rejection of a manuscript. In order to make sure that the manuscript does not do so, one has to read through the Instruction to Authors or Author Guidelines. These include details about the scope, target audience, submission process and many more aspects of the journal. In fact, these are also few key points taken into consideration while selecting a journal. In this article, we would discuss top 10 OA journals specific for the Life Sciences discipline.

Tools to be Used While Selecting OA Life Sciences Journals

Open Access (OA) journals are a favorite of researchers when it comes to publishing research papers. OA allows members of the public to access the content without permission and paywall barriers. OA journals make it easier for scientists to share their data with a wide audience. Most research done in public institutions are funded through government research grants. These public institutions also pay journal subscription fees to allow their staff and students to read these journals. This means that public funds help in supporting and accessing research. This is one of the reasons that governments and funding agencies support OA journals.

There are a few tools or platforms available in the industry that researchers use to choose an OA target journal.


One can find a list of open access journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals. The DOAJ also makes it possible for you to access content in OA journals.


Open Access Journal Finder (OAJF), launched by Enago Academy, uses a validated journal index provided by Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – the most trusted non-predatory open access journal directory in its search results, the tool displays vital journal details to the scholars including publisher details, peer review process, confidence index (indicates similarity between matching keywords in the published articles across all journals indexed by DOAJ), and publication speed. The dynamic platform also lets scholars filter search results based on preferences such as peer review process and approval of journals, among others.


ROAD (Director of Open Access Scholarly Resources) is another such platform useful in selecting OA journals. ROAD identifies open access resources which have been given ISSN numbers. The corresponding ISSN records are updated. ISSN records are matched with coverage lists provided by indexing databases, registries, and journal indicators. This process creates bibliographic records of open access content.


The Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO) is another option. It is a digital library of open access journals. SciELO is used for electronic publishing in developing countries. It was launched in Brazil in 1997. It hosts more than 1,161 OA journals and more than 500,000 open access articles.

Here are the Journals Who Made it to the Top 5

Different websites will show different set of topmost journals, as created keeping different metrics into consideration. Every publisher has several journals under each discipline. After referring to several such websites, we have narrowed down to make the list as the top 5 publishers/journals in the field of Life Sciences.

  1. Nature: The topmost position on the list is taken by Nature, a British weekly scientific journal that started its publishing journey back in 1869. Although it covers multiple disciplines, it is still considered one of the best journals when it comes to manuscripts in the field of Life Sciences. In fact, with an impact factor as high as 42.778, Nature made it to the JCR 2019 as one of the most cited journals.
  2. Science: Also widely referred to as Science Magazine, Science is the peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and one of the world’s top academic journals. According to the Journal Citation Reports, Science’s 2019 impact factor was 41.845. It was first published in 1880, and is currently circulated weekly.

The major focus of the journal is publishing important original scientific research and research reviews, but Science also publishes science-related news, opinions on science policy and other matters of interest to scientists and others who are concerned with the wide implications of science and technology. Unlike most scientific journals, which focus on a specific field, Science covers the full range of scientific disciplines.

  1. Cell: Cell, published by Cell Press, is a peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing research papers across a broad range of disciplines within the life sciences. Areas covered include molecular biology, cell biology, systems biology, stem cells, developmental biology, genetics and genomics, proteomics, cancer research, immunology, neuroscience, structural biology, microbiology, virology, physiology, biophysics, and computational biology. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2019 impact factor of 38.637, ranking it first out of 298 journals in “Biochemistry & Molecular Biology”.
  2. Nature Communications: Nature Communications is a peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal published by Nature Research since 2010. It is a multidisciplinary journals and it covers the natural sciences, including physics, chemistry, earth sciences, medicine, and biology. It has an impact factor of 12.021 (in 2019).
  3. PLOS ONE: PLOS (Public Library Of Science) is a non-profit organisation that publishes seven peer-reviewed Open Access journals. Each covers a different area of science or medicine. PLOS journals includePLOS ONE, PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and PLOS Pathogens. PLOS has an impact factor of 2.74 (in 2019). Among these, PLOS ONE is generally preferred more by researchers, mainly because of two reasons. Firstly, it includes papers across all scientific disciplines. Secondly, the editors of PLO SONE assess papers in an unusual way.

These are only five such top journals in Life Sciences that you can consider while publishing your manuscript. Do you agree to this list? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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