General considations

The quality of academic journals does not tend to be geographically biased. However, major publishing companies that publish the majority of academic journal content are usually located in the US or in the UK. Therefore, top tier journals with high impact factors and wide readership will more often originate from either of these regions. Other journals that are not-for-profit and hence not associated with a major publishing company could be located anywhere. These journals may still target a wide, international audience. Therefore, the quality of these journals is no less than that tied to major publishing companies.

Practical example for Life Sciences

Within the life sciences, many international, top-tier journals are based in the US or UK. Sometimes, a particular theory or discovery does not have its full potential realized by the scientific community at the time of publication. This can result in influential papers in the field being published in mid-tier rather than top-tier journals where one might expect them to be published. As a result, influential papers can be published in local, non-US or non-UK journals, rather than international journals. Therefore, depending on the significance of the paper and its acceptance in the scientific community at the time of publication, journals from countries other than the US or UK where majority of journals originate can make a significant impact on science. These papers are typically 20–30 years old, as they need the time to gain acceptance and grow in their impact.

Practical example for mathematics

Mathematics journals from many countries, including the US, the UK, France, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, are of high quality and impact. There are many proposed rankings of mathematics journals, and you can search these on the internet. However, for highly specific mathematical papers, it is more important to reach your target audience than to reach a larger, but more general, audience. As such, don’t let the country of the journal determine whether it’s the right journal for your paper.

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