How to Choose the Right Journal for your Work

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I have been known to make this statement: the most important thing about that piece you are working on is not the argument you make or the amazing findings; the most important thing is hitting submit. I have recently amended this statement because hitting submit to the wrong journal can be a big waste of time. As the rule of thumb applies: you submit the journal article to one journal at a time - it is not ethical to send to multiple editors. If you send the journal that is obviously or inevitably the wrong fit you are not moving forward.

This YouTube has some useful bits, especially in terms of the key element in choosing a journal and getting published in that journal: regard for readers. “The value lies in readers…” says Larry McEnerney (University of Chicago) and choosing the journal is important because you find the readers who will value your work. Your work does not get published because it is “well written” or “has a good argument” – it is going to be published if it is valuable to that scholarly community.

So, let’s look at what you are working on: you have ideas, data, a structure, a message. But to understand what is valued by the journal you are targeting for submission you need to then read, read, read that journal. Be sure what you have to offer can be valuable to those readers.

A recent challenge to academics is to send, send, send and collect rejections. I know some faculty who have made this a mission and reached upwards of 25 rejections last year – more if they are creative writers sending poems and fiction. I am still not sure of the pay off with this strategy. The ego might not recover. The drive to over-produce manuscripts to send out might wear you out. If you decide to try this strategy – let us know how it works out for you!

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by Guest Blogger Michele Eodice

Carrie Gillon