Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Journal Selection Strategy

FemaleScienceProfessor, who always blogs about cool things, has a question about journal choice. Namely, what do you with an article that could be published in a major journal but might not be?

Is this worse if you are an early career scientist who needs to get their work out their to establish productivity?

I have actually had this happen where a paper got mostly positive reviews, a major revision and then an ultimate rejection. The process took a very long time and the final dismissal was a single sentance. It's was a nasty enough experience that it actually makes me reluctant to return to that journal again.

Would I do it again? Maybe . . . After that, I dramatically undershot the next choice of journal for a potentially controversial paper. This was also a major mistake. The hardest cases are alwasy going to be the borderline ones. Long review times and ambiguous options to resubmit are always a bad outcome, no matter how I look at it.

But I wish I had a better feel for what the risk/benefit trade-off really was . . .


  1. Obviously, a paper loses value the longer it goes unpublished and the field advances around it. Is the delay caused by an overshoot/rejection significant here?

  2. Yes, the delay can be critical. It makes it a hard area to judge. In this respect I like BMC's model where the main journal will offer publication in a specialrty journal if they reject it based on interest to a general audience but find the results scientifically sound. This happened to one of my papers and it was a pretty good outcome.