Top 10 Scientific Journals [and how to check for quality]

Science only progresses when knowledge is shared – if research wasn’t communicated then the only way to know how something works would be to complete the research yourself. Thankfully, we have peer-reviewed journals that publish and circulate findings for scientists (and non-scientists alike) to learn from and build upon.

This is in itself great for science, but as more and more knowledge is produced it can be difficult to know where to look to get an understanding of different scientific fields. There are countless journals that focus on a seemingly endless list of research areas, each more specialized than the last.

To help you cut through the confusion, we’re providing you with two things: a quick checklist of aspects to look out for when deciding which journals to read, and a list of 10 journals that publish great human behavior research across different subject fields.

Some great examples of journals that have showcased human behavior research are listed below, in no particular order.

The Journals

1. Annual Review of Psychology

annual review of psychology

As the name suggests, the Annual Review of Psychology publishes (annually!) a wide range of reviews related to psychological research. Offering detailed and thoughtful commentary on a range of subjects, from the biological basis of behavior, to cognitive processes, to human development, the journal is an esteemed source of knowledge within psychology.

2. Frontiers in Neuroscience

Frontiers in Neuroscience is a relatively new journal (started in 2007) that has quickly risen in the ranks of scientific journals. Now with almost 3,500 publications, it amassed the most citations in the field of neuroscience in 2016. With a venerated editorial board, open-access throughout, and an online only presence, the journal’s ethos is as progressive as the science it publishes.

3. PLOS One

plos one logo

As a flagship of the PLOS (Public Library of Science) series of articles, PLOS One has had an uphill battle to prove its worth as a relatively new, multidisciplinary, and open-access journal. Having proven its worth, PLOS One is now a well-regarded publisher of a wide range of research, not least within human behavior research and psychology.

4. Journal of Advertising Research

journal of advertising research

The Journal of Advertising Research (JAR) focuses on providing insights into the world of advertising research. By highlighting topics from neuromarketing to social media, JAR provides a broad range of areas to explore, not least with the use of biosensors for advertising research. Aimed at both researchers and practitioners, the work is often not just of academic interest, but also has practical applications too.

5. Journal of Consumer Research

By exploring consumer behavior through a multi-disciplinary approach (across fields spanning psychology, economics, and communication, among others), the Journal of Consumer Research has built itself to be one of the leading journals in this field. By focusing on academic content, rather than for practitioners (as JAR has), the research can be more fundamental to an understanding of human behavior in a consumer research context.

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6. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

One of the central articles from the APA (American Psychological Association), the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General has provided a platform for empirical research since 1916. The journal has a broad scope within experimental psychology, covering areas such as cognition, perception, and behavior, yet strives to present robust and reliable results.

7. Learning and Instruction

learning and instruction

The journal Learning and Instruction focuses on providing cutting-edge science in the areas of teaching and education. By providing an evidence-based understanding of educational methods, the journal can help educators teach more effectively. Often publishing articles that incorporate psychophysiological measures, Learning and Instruction encourages an unbiased approach to understanding human behavior in the classroom.

8. CHI

chi logo

The CHI conference is one of the leading publishers within the field of human-computer interaction and UX design. By promoting forward-thinking, data-driven, science-based approaches, CHI is continually advancing knowledge of human behavior for researchers ad designers alike.

9. Perspectives on Psychological Science

perspectives on psychological science

There are few places to look to understand the current state of psychology research than in Perspectives on Psychological Science. Offering a myriad selection of reviews, reports, essays, and opinion pieces, the journal disseminates the thoughts of leading figures within the field of psychology.

10. Research in Engineering Design

The journal of Research in Engineering Design focuses on design theory and application across a range of engineering fields, often examining behavioral processes from the perspective of designer or end user. By presenting many biosensor-based approaches, the journal sets itself apart as a progressive research journal.

The Checklist for Journal Quality

While the exact research area you are interested in will determine which journals you read, the following should serve as a quick checklist for quality (caveat – different research fields sometimes have different norms and standards, so this may not be entirely conclusive for your field):

  • Indexed in Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, CiteSeer, Google scholar or somewhere similar
  • Has an up-to-date website that includes crucial information for authors and readers
  • Clear and coherently themed around a central subject  (No discordant thematic combinations)
  • Has a publically visible editorial board, which consists of professors and researchers at accredited universities or research institutions
  • Doesn’t attempt to solicit articles before the research is completed with the promise of publication
  • Assigns Digitial Object Identifiers to each article (DOI)
top scientific journals checklist

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our top 10 journals that feature human behavior / biosensor research, and that you feel inspired to give some of them a read! To learn more about one of the most commonly used human behavior research methods, download our free guide to eye tracking below.

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