A journal’s acceptance rate can give you an idea of its status and rigor. All other things being equal, it is generally better to publish in a journal with a low acceptance rate (indicating a high level of selectivity and rigor).
Journals typically do not publish their acceptance rates on their web sites, but you can find acceptance rates for many journals using the resources listed on this page.
A journal’s acceptance rate should not be used by itself to determine a journal’s status or prestige. Narrowly focused “specialty” journals often have relatively high acceptance rates because far fewer authors submit to them, but for some authors and some topics, they may be the most suitable publication venue. For more information, see How to interpret journal acceptance rates.
Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities. This database is designed to help authors locate appropriate publication outlets for their work. It allows you to look up a journal title and find out its acceptance rate, as well as other pertinent details, such as the submissions turnaround time, the journal’s open-access status, the form of review (for example, double-blind peer review), and so forth. You can also use Cabell's to compare journals within a subject area. Note: OU's subscription includes the following subject areas: Accounting, Educational Technology & Library Science, Economic and Finance, Management, Marketing, Educational Curriculum & Methods, Educational Psychology & Administration, Psychology & Psychiatry.
MLA Directory of Periodicals lists journals in literature, languages, and linguistics. Although the MLA Directory does not publish acceptance rates, it shows the annual number of articles submitted and published, and these numbers can be used to calculate the acceptance rate. For example, regarding the journal Hemingway Review, the MLA Directory states “Articles: Suggested Length: 6,250 words maximum; Number Submitted Per Year: 50-60; Published Per Year: 10-14.” Dividing the number of articles published by the number submitted yields an acceptance rate ranging from 17% (10/60) to 28% (14/50).
APA Journal Statistics and Operations Data provides statistical information about journals published by the American Psychological Association, including rejection rates. In 2013, for example, the journal Developmental Psychology had a rejection rate of 80%. You can use the rejection rate to determine the acceptance rate by subtracting the rejection rate from 100%. In this case, the acceptance rate would be 20%.