Choosing the Right Journal – Advice on Journal Selection
There are rare instances in which an academic or scholarly paper is such a perfect fit for a particular journal and indeed only for that journal that the process of deciding where to submit it for publication is a simple matter. In most cases, however, discovering suitable journals and choosing the right journal that presents the best chances of successful publication and the most appropriate dissemination possibilities are much more complicated. At times the final decision can be notoriously difficult, with the struggle between the ideal and the practical especially challenging.
By the ideal I mean the journal in which you would absolutely love to have your research published. Perhaps it is the most respected journal in your field, or maybe the papers it publishes tend to be cited more often than papers published in other journals. It may be the periodical that specialises most closely on the topic of your in-depth research or perhaps on the kind of methodology you have used or the sort of results you have achieved. On the other hand, it might be the best journal that aims for a wider range that just happens to be perfect for your new interdisciplinary research. All of these are excellent reasons for choosing the right journal as a possible publishing venue for your writing, so I certainly would not want to discourage your efforts to publish in such a well-suited journal, but I do advise practicality and a healthy dose of realism.
Choosing the right journal ( maybe a top-tier journal) will be a desirable publishing venue for virtually all scholars working in your field, so the competition may well be stiff. This means that if you are an established expert in your discipline and the research you are submitting for publication is absolutely cutting edge, you will stand a good chance of success. If neither is the case, however, your work may well be passed over in favour of submissions that do meet these criteria. It does not mean that trying is inappropriate or success impossible, but it is important to recognise that it may well be a long shot. If you decide to send your writing to such a journal, keep in mind that it almost certainly receives more submissions than lesser periodicals, so it will probably take some time for your paper to be considered by the acquisitions editor and, if you are fortunate, move on to peer review. When publication is the end result, this time is well spent, but if a rejection arrives instead and there is no opportunity to revise for resubmission, that time is wasted.
When it is important that the research be published as soon as possible, as is so often the case with academic and scientific investigation, it may be wiser to set your sights on a surer bet. A journal that is not quite so prestigious or frequently cited, but nonetheless has similar aims and publishes work of a similar range and specialisation will often prove more rewarding, especially for early-career scholars. Since such a periodical likely receives fewer submissions, the process of initial consideration and peer review will tend to take less time, and since competition will be reduced, the chances that a sound piece of research by a relatively unknown academic will be accepted for publication are greater. Choosing the right journal is more important than ever, remember that if you and other scholars publish excellent research in a journal, not only will your work be accessible to readers, but your writing will also help increase the periodical’s citations and readership, rendering the journal and thus your work more prestigious. In addition, once a scholar has published his or her writing in any respectable scholarly journal and benefitted from the experience, there is usually a better chance of success with those top-tier journals in the future.