TOP ion channel-friendly journals

BY      |     February 8, 2020

Every scientist (I suppose) wants to publish his great findings in a well-known journal. And what he/she also wants is to publish them rapidly and easily, without a 1-2-year-long exhausting peer-review process.

The choice of the journal for publishing your research is a strategic decision. Depending on your goals, you may need to consider different factors (yes, beyond the impact factor there are other factors as well), such as journal acceptance rate, publishing speed, time to first decision, readership, status and even your relationships with journal editors or reviewers (shhh… it’s a secret).

One of the important factors that you need to consider is how “friendly” the selected journal is to ion channels. The measure of this “friendliness” could be, for example, how often a particular journal publishes ion channel research and/or what the fraction of ion channel-related articles is in the journal’s portfolio.

So, let’s take a look at what we get from Pubmed. The search for “ion channel[MeSH Terms]” gives us 237552 articles in 4683 journals (as of 28/01/2020). 4683 journals!!?? That’s a whole lot of journals! And all of them published ion channel-related research at least once. How come that we (or, maybe, it’s just me?) have never heard about the vast majority of these journals? The reason for this is simple: most of these journals haven’t cared enough about ion channels and therefore will fade into obscurity.

Now, look at these numbers. They speak for themselves.

Out of 4683 journals:

940 journals published just 1 article on ion channels, 1935 – published less than 1 ion channel-related article per year, 3690 – less than 2 articles per year and 4311 – less than 5 articles per year.

Out of all journals we now have “only” 1736 “ion channel active” journals (those that have published at least 1 article on ion channels since 2018). Out of them, 1152 journals have published 2 articles or less per year since 2018. Roughly once per two months we get ion channel news from 251 journals and 105 journals make us happy with their ion channel publications every month.

Interestingly, the famous “80/20 principle” by Vilfredo Pareto perfectly works here. In the context of ion channel publications, one possible way to phrase this principle is: roughly 80% of all ion channel articles come from 20% of journals. In our particular case, the “80/20 principle” becomes “89/20 principle”: 89% of all ion channel articles come from 20% of journals.

OK, let’s take a look at the most ion channel-friendly journals. I limited my analysis here to the journals publishing at least 2 ion channel articles per month since 2015. You can sort the table in whatever way you like.

JournalIon channel articles per yearFraction of ion channel
articles, %
Impact factor 2018
Sci Rep.
PLoS One.219.212.776
J Biol Chem.
J Neurosci.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
J Physiol.91.615.84.95
Nat Commun.86.81.911.88
Int J Mol Sci.
Pflugers Arch.74.336.13.377
Eur J Pharmacol.
Cell Rep.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun.
Neurosci Lett.
Br J Pharmacol.55.311.56.583
J Gen Physiol.5042.84.788
J Neurophysiol.
Channels (Austin).4471.92.289
Brain Res.41.562.929
Am J Physiol Renal Physiol.39.812.83.323
Mol Neurobiol.
Cell Calcium.38.437.93.932
Mol Med Rep.
Cell Physiol Biochem.
Adv Exp Med Biol.
Biophys J.
Behav Brain Res.
Mol Pharmacol.32.620.43.853
Methods Mol Biol.31.40.8
Physiol Rep.304.6
J Med Chem.
Am J Physiol Cell Physiol.28.614.93.553
J Cyst Fibros.27.2164.29
Bioorg Med Chem Lett.
ACS Chem Neurosci.276.73.861
Mol Pain.25.8273.205
Psychopharmacology (Berl).
Eur J Neurosci.
Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr.24.793.79
J Neurochem.
J Mol Cell Cardiol.24105.055

What we see here is that the most ion channel-friendly journals (in terms of the fraction of ion channel-related articles in journal’s portfolio) are the Channels (Austin) Journal, the Journal of General Physiology, the Cell Calcium, the Pflugers Archive and the Molecular Pain.

On the other hand, the most performant journals (in terms of the number of ion channel articles published per year) are the Scientific Reports, the PLOS One, the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Neuroscience and the Neuropharmacology.

And here is the list of the most productive journals of all times (in terms of the total number of ion channel articles). The clear leader here is the Journal of Biological Chemistry with the whopping 6961 articles on ion channels.

JournalTotal number of ion channel articles
J Biol Chem.6961
J Neurosci.5963
J Physiol.5963
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.4349
Brain Res.4334
Eur J Pharmacol.3810
PLoS One.3397
Neurosci Lett.3149
J Neurophysiol.3093

Now it’s up to you which journal to choose. If you want to publish quickly, probably, it’s a good idea to look at the most performant journals first. On the other hand, if an impact factor is all you’re dreaming of, then you’d better go for PNAS, Nature Communications, Neuron or Nature. Or maybe you simply want to escape the impact factor race and publish your amazing discovery in a good old journal X, regardless of what other racers say?

See you soon.

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

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