How to Start a Peer-Reviewed Research Journal?

Starting a peer-reviewed research journal involves meticulous planning and execution. It begins with defining the journal’s scope and mission, followed by conducting market research to identify gaps and demand. Assembling a credible editorial board and setting up robust submission and peer review processes are crucial.

Starting a peer-reviewed research journal is a complex yet highly rewarding endeavor that involves careful planning, organization, and execution. A peer-reviewed journal serves as a platform for disseminating high-quality research within a specific academic discipline, contributing significantly to the advancement of knowledge. This detailed guide outlines the essential steps to establish a successful peer-reviewed research journal, covering every aspect from initial planning to long-term maintenance.

1. Define the Journal’s Scope and Mission

Identify the Focus Area:

The first step in starting a peer-reviewed journal is to identify its focus area. The journal should address a specific field or interdisciplinary area where there is a need for additional academic discourse. The chosen field should not be overly broad or narrow; it should strike a balance that allows for a diverse range of topics while maintaining a clear thematic focus.

Set the Mission Statement:

A clear and concise mission statement is crucial. It should articulate the journal’s purpose, target audience, and the type of research it aims to publish. The mission statement will guide all future decisions and ensure the journal maintains its focus and integrity.

2. Conduct Market Research

Analyze Existing Journals:

Conduct a thorough analysis of existing journals in your chosen field. Identify potential competitors and study their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, and it will also help you position your journal uniquely in the market.

Identify Gaps:

Look for gaps in the existing literature where your journal could provide significant contributions. This could be in terms of specific topics, methodologies, or geographic focus. Identifying these gaps will help you tailor your journal to meet the needs of the academic community.

Assess Demand:

Ensure there is sufficient demand for a new journal in your chosen field. This involves gauging the interest of potential authors, readers, and institutions. Conduct surveys or informal interviews with researchers and practitioners to assess the need for your journal.

3. Establish the Editorial Board

Recruit Experts:

Assemble a team of respected scholars and practitioners in your field to serve on the editorial board. The editorial board is crucial for maintaining the journal’s academic rigor and reputation. Aim to include members with diverse expertise and backgrounds to cover a wide range of subfields within your journal’s scope.

Define Roles:

Clearly outline the responsibilities of the editor-in-chief, associate editors, and editorial board members. The editor-in-chief typically oversees the entire editorial process, while associate editors manage specific sections or topics. Board members may be involved in manuscript review, strategic planning, and promoting the journal.

Set Expectations:

Establish guidelines for the manuscript review process, including timelines, ethical standards, and review criteria. Make sure all editorial board members are aware of these guidelines and are committed to upholding them.

4. Develop Submission and Review Processes

Create Author Guidelines:

Provide clear and detailed instructions for manuscript preparation and submission. This includes formatting requirements, citation styles, and any specific criteria unique to your journal. Well-defined guidelines will help streamline the submission process and reduce the burden on authors and reviewers.

Set Up a Peer Review System:

Decide on the type of peer review (single-blind, double-blind, or open) and establish a pool of reviewers. A robust peer review system is essential for maintaining the quality and integrity of the journal. Ensure that reviewers are experts in their fields and are committed to providing thorough and unbiased evaluations.

Implement Editorial Management Software:

Choose a platform for managing submissions, reviews, and communications. A popular option is Open Journal Systems (OJS). These platforms help automate and streamline the editorial workflow, making it easier to manage submissions, track reviews, and communicate with authors and reviewers. For OJS services you can hire technology partners who are experts in OJS. For example

5. Secure Funding and Resources

Identify Funding Sources:

Explore various funding options to support the journal’s operations. Potential sources include grants from academic institutions, research organizations, and government agencies. You may also consider sponsorships from industry partners or professional associations.

Budget Planning:

Prepare a detailed budget covering all aspects of the journal’s operations. This includes editorial costs, software licensing fees, marketing expenses, and administrative overhead. A well-planned budget will help you manage resources effectively and ensure the journal’s financial sustainability.

Allocate Resources:

Ensure you have the necessary human resources to support the journal. This includes editorial assistants, technical support staff, and administrative personnel. Clear allocation of resources will help maintain smooth and efficient operations.

6. Legal and Ethical Considerations

Obtain ISSN:

Apply for an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) to uniquely identify your journal. The ISSN is an essential identifier for academic journals and is required for indexing in major databases. You can apply for an ISSN through the ISSN International Centre. In case you do not know how to do it, then you can hire a ISSN consultancy provider like OJSCloud. Know More about ISSN>>

Set Ethical Guidelines:

Establish comprehensive ethical guidelines covering issues such as plagiarism, conflicts of interest, and data integrity. Communicate these guidelines to authors, reviewers, and editorial board members. Adhering to high ethical standards is crucial for maintaining the journal’s credibility and reputation.

Copyright and Licensing:

Decide on copyright policies and consider open-access options. Determine whether the journal will retain copyright or allow authors to retain it. Consider using Creative Commons licenses to facilitate open access and promote wider dissemination of research.


A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object, such as a journal article, providing a permanent link to its location on the internet. DOIs are crucial for ensuring the persistent identification and easy retrieval of digital content. Know More >>

To obtain a DOI prefix for your journal, you can contact Crossref or any other DOI service provider. However, going directly through Crossref can be expensive. To reduce costs, consider contacting CrossRef Sponsored Partners, who can sponsor your journal and provide a DOI prefix at a significantly lower cost. For example, Sequence Research & Development Pvt. Ltd. in India is an authorized Crossref Sponsored Partner.

8. Marketing and Outreach

Promote the Journal:

Use various marketing channels to promote the journal to potential authors and readers. This includes social media, academic networks, and conferences. Engage with your target audience through regular updates, newsletters, and promotional materials.

Collaborate with Institutions:

Partner with academic institutions, research organizations, and libraries to increase the journal’s visibility and reach. Institutional collaborations can help attract high-quality submissions and expand the journal’s readership.

Indexing and Abstracting:

Aim to get the journal indexed in major databases such as PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science. Indexing increases the journal’s visibility, credibility, and accessibility. Follow the specific criteria and application processes for each indexing service.

9. Publish and Maintain Quality

Regular Issues:

Stick to a consistent publication schedule, whether it’s quarterly, biannually, or another frequency. Regular publication ensures that the journal remains relevant and maintains the interest of readers and contributors.

Quality Control:

Maintain high standards in the peer review process and editorial practices. Regularly review and update the journal’s policies and procedures to ensure they meet the evolving needs of the academic community.

Feedback and Improvement:

Collect feedback from authors, reviewers, and readers to continually improve the journal. Use surveys, informal interviews, and other feedback mechanisms to gather insights and make necessary adjustments.

10. Measure Impact and Growth

Track Metrics:

Use citation analysis, download statistics, and altmetrics to measure the journal’s impact. Track these metrics regularly to assess the journal’s performance and identify areas for improvement.

Adapt and Innovate:

Stay updated with trends in academic publishing and adapt your strategies accordingly. Explore new formats, technologies, and approaches to enhance the journal’s reach and impact.

Long-term Planning:

Develop strategies for the journal’s long-term growth and sustainability. This includes special issues, thematic sections, expanding the editorial board, and exploring new funding opportunities.


Starting a peer-reviewed research journal is a challenging but immensely rewarding endeavor. By following these detailed steps, you can establish a reputable and impactful journal that contributes significantly to the advancement of knowledge in your chosen field. Careful planning, dedication to quality, and a commitment to ethical standards are key to the success of your journal. With persistence and continuous improvement, your journal can become a valuable resource for researchers, practitioners, and the broader academic community.

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