Where should I submit? Choosing a hydrology journal

There are many journals to choose from for publication of your hydrological research. Part of the challenge for students and early career researchers is knowing which one to pick.  In this post, we identify some characteristics of hydrology journals to help you find the right one for your work.  

What types of papers are published in hydrology?

Hydrology journals accept different types of papers for publication.  These include but not limited to Research Articles, Research Letters/Technical Notes, Review Articles, Commentaries, and Comments/Discussion and replies.

  • Research Articles: Advance our understanding of hydrological processes by explaining theories and presenting novel concepts using models and data. They contain fully developed critical evaluation, results, and discussion.  
  • Research Letters/Technical Notes: Short articles with broad and immediate implications in hydro-geosciences.  These articles describe a specific technique or a modification of an existing procedure.  
  • Review Articles: Review and synthesize recent literature on a given topic.  
  • Commentaries: Invited, new insights and concepts relevant to a broad range of water researchers and practitioners
  • Comments/Discussions and replies: Provide readers with context on a recent publication or meeting, a notable anniversary or event, an update on a paper of importance. They must provide arguments that are reasoned and not presented in a confrontational fashion.

What metrics should I consider when choosing a journal?

In many fields of research, metrics have become shorthand signals to focus our attention in the ocean of published literature. Different metrics are used to classify (or index) peer-reviewed journals.  Here we introduce some of the most commonly used metrics to consider when choosing among journals that fit the scope of your work. However, remember that metrics are sometimes controversial, and there are mixed opinions on the utility of different metrics within the scientific community.

  • Journal Impact Factor (IF): A measure that assesses the reputation and quality of a journal. IF is calculated by Clarivate Analytic. Owing to how citations are counted IF has received sustained criticism for many years.
  • CiteScore: A measure that reflects the number of citations, received in any given year, of articles published in the previous three years divided by the sum of publications in the same previous three years using data in Scopus, the world’s leading abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature.
  • SCImago Journal Rank (SJR): A measure that accounts for the number of citations received by a journal and the importance of the journals in which the citations come. Also powered by Scopus data.
  • Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP): A metric that intrinsically accounts for field-specific differences in citation practices. SNIP measures contextual citation impact and enables direct comparison of journals in different subjects within a field. It is calculated annually from Scopus data.

Helpful online services and journal databases

Do you find yourself needing a list of potential journals that you can consider in seconds? Try the following online services!

  • Springer Journal Suggester: Enter your manuscript details to see a list of journals most suitable for your research.
  • Find journals: Enter the title and abstract of your paper to find journals that could be best suited for publishing quickly.
  • SCImago Journal & Country Rank (SJR): Enter “Environmental Science” for the subject area section and “Water Science and Technology” for the subject category section to see a list of potential journals in hydrology and water resources.
  • Scopus: Search for journals by Subject area, Tile, Published or, ISSN.
  • Google Scholar Metric: Enter “Life sciences and Earth sciences” for the category sections and “Hydrology and Water Resources” for the subcategory section to get a list of potential ranked journals in hydrology and water resources.

Link to Some of Hydrology Journals

  • Journal of Hydrology (ISSN 0022-1694)
  • Subject areas and categories: Surface and groundwater hydrology, hydrometeorology, hydrogeology, hydrogeophysics, climatology, water resource systems, ecohydrology, geomorphology, soil science, instrumentation and remote sensing
  • Scope: This journal publishes work in all the subfields of hydrological sciences, including water-based management and policy impacting economics and society.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers
  • Metrics: IF= 4.405, CiteScore= 4.90, SJR= 1.830, SNIP= 1.917
  • Water Resources Research (ISSN 1944-7973)
  • Subject areas and categories: Surface hydrology, groundwater, meteorology, climate, ecology, water resources management, social sciences of water
  • Scope: This journal publishes work studying the role of water in the Earth system, including physical, chemical, biological, and ecological processes in water resources research and management, and their social, policy, and public health implications using observational, experimental, theoretical, analytical, numerical, and data-driven approaches.
  • Articles: Research papers, technical reports, commentaries
  • Metrics: IF= 4.14, CiteScore= 4.73, SJR= 2.135, SNIP= 1.676
  • Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (ISSN 1027-5606)
  • Subject areas and categories: Dissolved and particulate matter impacts on water cycle; spatial and temporal characteristics of the global water resources; interactions with human activity of all hydrological processes, budgets, and fluxes
  • Scope: This journal publishes fundamental and applied research advancing the understanding of hydrological systems, their role in providing water for ecosystems and society, and the role of the water cycle in the functioning of the Earth system.
  • Articles: Research papers, technical notes, opinion papers, articles on high-level scientific failures, cutting-edge case studies, communications, comments and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 5.615, CiteScore= 4.49, SJR= 2.134, SNIP= 1.612

  • Hydrological Processes (ISSN 0885-6087)
  • Subject areas and categories:  Mechanisms underlying the movement and storage of water in the environment; interaction of water with geological, biogeochemical, atmospheric and ecological systems; techniques used to observe or quantify hydrological processes
  • Scope: This journal publishes original scientific contributions that advance understanding of hydrological processes, with international implications.
  • Articles: Research papers, scientific briefings (short papers that follow a fast track publication route), data notes, visualizations, and commentaries
  • Metrics: IF= 3.189, CiteScore= 3.39, SJR= 1.417, SNIP= 1.174

  • Journal of Hydrometeorology (ISSN 1525-755X)
  • Subject areas and categories: Geoscience, atmospheric science
  • Scope: This journal publishes research on modeling, observing, and forecasting processes related to fluxes and storage of water, energy, and other meteorological inputs.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, comments and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 4.158, CiteScore= 4.45, SJR= 2.413, SNIP= 1.335
  • Advances in Water Resources (ISSN 0309-1708)
  • Subject areas and categories: Surface and subsurface hydrology, hydrometeorology, environmental fluid dynamics, ecohydrology, ecohydrodynamics, multiphase transport phenomena in porous media, fluid flow, species transport, reaction processes
  • Scope: This journal publishes research on any combination of theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches used to advance fundamental understanding of surface or subsurface water resources systems, or the interaction of these systems with the atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and human societies. 
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, letters (short communications), discussions and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 4.490, CiteScore= 4.00, SJR= 1.384, SNIP= 1.637
  • Water Resources Management (ISSN 0920-4741)
  • Subject areas and categories: Water resources assessment and conservation (with an emphasis on policies and strategies); planning, design, operation, and maintenance of water resources systems; water demand and consumption; applied surface and groundwater hydrology; water management techniques; simulation and modeling of water resource systems; forecasting and control of water quantity and quality; economic and social aspects of water use; legislation and water resources protection
  • Scope: This journal is a forum for the presentation of original contributions and the exchange of knowledge and experience on the management of water resources.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, technical notes, letters to the editor and short communications
  • Metrics: IF=3.256, CiteScore= 3.30, SJR= 1.097, SNIP= 1.486
  • Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management (ISSN 0733-9496)
  • Subject areas and categories: Social and environmental objectives in fish and wildlife management, water-based recreation, and wild/scenic river use; developments in computer applications associated with ecological, cultural, and historical issues
  • Scope: This journal publishes work that examines social, economic, environmental, and administrative concerns relating to all phases of planning and management of water resources.
  • Articles: Research (technical) papers, technical notes, discussions and closures
  • Metrics: IF= 3.537, CiteScore= 3.36, SJR= 1.418, SNIP= 1.555
  • Hydrological Sciences Journal (ISSN 0262-6667)
  • Subject areas and categories: Surface water, groundwater, snow and ice, hydrological extremes, measurement, mathematical and computational aspects of hydrological processes, water resources management and their change under the influence of human activity, management and economic aspects of applied hydrology
  • Scope: This journal is the official journal of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) providing a forum for the exchange of information and views on significant developments in hydrology worldwide.
  • Articles: Research papers, technical notes, discussions and replies, rapid communications
  • Metrics: IF= 2.180, CiteScore= 2.30, SJR= 0.913, SNIP= 1.001

  • Ecohydrology (ISSN 1936-0592)
  • Subject areas and categories: Physical, ecological, biological, biogeochemical, geomorphological, mathematical, and methodological aspects of ecohydrology
  • Scope: This journal publishes work that improves understanding of processes at the interface between ecology and hydrology and associated applications related to environmental management.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, comments and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 2.564, CiteScore= 2.79, SJR= 1.050, SNIP= 1.109
  • Journal of American Water Resources Association (ISSN 1093-474X)
  • Subject areas and categories: Water resources, groundwater, hydrology, hydrogeology, geoscience, GIS, water management, water policy
  • Scope: This journal presents ideas derived from multiple disciplines woven together to give insight into a critical water issue, or are based primarily upon a single discipline with important applications to other disciplines. Papers often cover the topics of recent AWRA conferences such as riparian ecology, geographic information systems, adaptive management, and water policy.
  • Articles: Research papers, technical notes, review papers, commentaries, discussions and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 2.462, CiteScore= 2.36, SJR= 1.026, SNIP= 0.989
  • Journal of Hydrologic Engineering (ISSN 1084-0699)
  • Subject areas and categories: Climate change and design, data assimilation and models, development of low-impact/green infrastructure, environmental science, water resources, water science and technology
  • Scope: This journal disseminates information on the development of new hydrologic methods, theories, and applications to current engineering problems. It publishes papers on analytical, numerical, and experimental methods for the investigation and modeling of hydrological processes.
  • Articles: Research papers, technical notes, discussions and closures
  • Metrics: IF= 1.56, CiteScore= 1.56, SJR= 0.737, SNIP= 0.889
  • Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies (ISSN 2214-5818)
  • Subject areas and categories: Catchment hydrology, impacts of climate and land-use change on hydrology and water resources, modeling and prediction, economic hydrology, hydrology and livelihoods, cultural and social aspects of water allocation, urban hydrology
  • Scope: This journal publishes new insights into region-specific hydrological processes and response to changing conditions, as well as contributions that incorporate interdisciplinarity and transnational science.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, comments and replies
  • Metrics: CiteScore= 3.91, SJR= 1.378, SNIP= 1.639
  • Hydrogeology Journal (ISSN 1431-2174)
  • Subject areas and categories: Geochemistry, geophysics, geomorphology, geobiology, surface-water hydrology, tectonics, economic hydrology, sociohydrology
  • Scope: This journal publishes articles that foster understanding and global progress in hydrogeology.
  • Articles: Research papers, reports, technical note, profile (a biographical sketch of an eminent hydrogeologist describing his/her contributions to the science), essays, comments and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 2.618, CiteScore= 2.38, SJR= 0.940, SNIP= 1.335
  • Groundwater (ISSN 0017-467X)
  • Subject areas and categories: Groundwater flow and well hydraulics, hydrogeochemistry and contaminant hydrogeology, applications of geophysics, groundwater management and policy, history of groundwater hydrology
  • Scope: This journal publishes a dynamic mix of papers on topics including groundwater flow, contaminant hydrogeology, groundwater management, and policy that bring practical applications in groundwater hydrology.
  • Articles: Research papers, technical notes, compute notes, review papers, technical commentaries
  • Metrics: IF= 2.322, CiteScore= 1.88, SJR= 0.911, SNIP= 1.016

  • Vadose Zone Journal (ISSN 1539-1663)
  • Subject areas and categories: Variably saturated fluid flow, heat and solute transport in granular and fractured media, flow processes in the capillary fringe at or near the water table, water table management, regional and global climate change impacts on the vadose zone,  biogeochemical transformation processes,  inorganic and organic chemicals.
  • Scope: This journal is an interdisciplinary journal that publishes articles investigating assessment and policy analyses of the mostly unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the groundwater table.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, updates (short reviews), priority communications, technical notes, focus topics
  • Metrics: IF= 3.634, CiteScore= 2.87, SJR= 1.075, SNIP= 1.330
  • Journal of Flood Risk Management (ISSN 1753-318X)
  • Subject areas and categories: Climate change and adaption; long-term planning and decision making; prevention, protection, and preparation; forecasting, warning, and emergency management; public engagement; flood risk infrastructure
  • Scope: This journal publishes papers in all areas related to flood risk. Its aim is to disseminate ideas across the range of disciplines where flood-based research is carried out, and it provides content ranging from leading-edge academic papers to applied content with the practitioner in mind.
  • Articles: Research papers
  • Metrics: IF= 3.24, CiteScore= 2.66, SJR= 1.081, SNIP= 1.768
  • Journal of Hydro-environment Research (ISSN 1570-6443)
  • Subject areas and categories: Sustainable water management, water-health issues, environmental hydraulics, eco-hydraulics, coastal engineering, integration of hydraulics with hydrology.
  • Scope: This journal publishes research and engineering applications related to water and hydraulic problems in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, technical communications
  • Metrics: IF= 2.548, CiteScore= 2.82, SJR= 0.841, SNIP= 1.601
  • Journal of Hydroinformatics (ISSN 1464-7141)
  • Subject areas and categories: Ecology and water quality modeling, environmental impact assessment, socio-economic frameworks, data-driven modeling and management, artificial neural networks, evolutionary methods
  • Scope: This journal publishes work that shows the application of information technology in the widest sense to problems of the aquatic environment.
  • Articles: Research papers (technical and practice), technical notes, discussions and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 1.908, CiteScore= 2.09, SJR= 0.665, SNIP= 1.112

  • Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering (ISSN 0733-9437)
  • Subject areas and categories: Case studies and practical application on watershed management, weather modification, water quality, groundwater, surface water
  • Scope: This journal publishes papers that cover all phases of irrigation, drainage, engineering hydrology, and related water management subjects.
  • Articles: Research/technical papers, technical notes, discussions and closures
  • Metrics: IF= 1.340, CiteScore= 1.15, SJR= 0.551, SNIP= 0.980
  • Water Policy (ISSN 1366-7017)
  • Subject areas and categories: River-basin and watershed management, pollution monitoring and control, allocation of risks among stakeholders, flood control and disaster management, conflict management and negotiations of water resources, commercialization of water
  • Scope: This journal publishes work that analyses, reviews, and debates on all policy aspects of water resources.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, short progress reports
  • Metrics: IF= 1.011, CiteScore= 1.06, SJR= 0.418, SNIP= 0.606
  • Frontiers in Earth Sciences, Hydrology (ISSN 2296-6463)
  • Subject areas and categories: Watershed studies, remote sensing, data assimilation, land-atmosphere interaction, groundwater, data-poor environments, global inventories and studies
  • Scope: This journal publishes articles presenting hydrological experiments, measurements, and new methods that try to bridge the gap between proof of concept and widespread application and commercialization.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, commentaries, data reports, opinion papers, technology and code papers, editorial papers, perspective papers
  • Metrics: IF= 2.892, CiteScore= 2.74, SJR= 1.148, SNIP= 0.915

  • Hydrology (ISSN 2306-5338)
  • Subject areas and categories: Surface hydrology, groundwater, ecohydrology, isotope hydrology, socio-hydrology, cross-disciplinary subjects including geology, hydraulics, cryosphere, economics, and policy
  • Scope: This journal publishes work on all aspects of hydrology that advance the quantitative, qualitative, ecological, and managerial aspects of hydrology.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers
  • Metrics: CiteScore= 2.02, SJR= 0.63, SNIP=0.877

  • Water (ISSN 2073-4441)
  • Subject areas and categories: Water resources management, flood risk, water quality, water-food, water-ecosystem, hydrology and hydraulics
  • Scope: This journal publishes work on all aspects of water including water science, technology, management, and governance.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers
  • Metrics: IF= 2.721, CiteScore= 2.66, SJR= 0.67, SNIP= 1.140
  • The Cryosphere (ISSN 1994-0416)
  • Subject areas and categories: Ice sheets and glaciers, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground, seasonal snow cover, river and lake ice, and remote sensing, numerical modeling and in-situ studies of the interaction of the cryosphere with the rest of the climate system
  • Scope: This journal publishes work on all aspects of frozen water and ground on Earth and on other planetary bodies.
  • Articles: Research papers, review papers, brief communications, invited perspective papers, comments and replies
  • Metrics: IF= 5.921, CiteScore= 5.27, SJR= 3.016, SNIP= 1.551

The information above is retrieved from Journal websites, Scopus, SCImago Journal and Country Rank in May 2020. Metrics are mostly based on 2018 datasets.



SCImago, (n.d.). SJR — SCImago Journal & Country Rank [Portal]. Retrieved Date you Retrieve, from http://www.scimagojr.com

By Irene Garousi-Nejad
Utah State University

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