“Where to publish”: new article out in a medical journal

10th Jul 2015

I have a new journal article out! It is entitled Where to publish and it is available open access in the July issue of Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The article summarises the recommendations I give in Cofactor workshops and consultancy on the factors authors should consider when choosing a journal. These factors include impact (or prestige), speed, access, reputation, scope and peer review type. I also consider various alternative strategies for choosing which journal to try first and which to have as backups in case of rejection. Here is an excerpt from this part:

There are several common strategies for choosing a journal:

  1. Go down the ‘impact ladder’. Target the highest impact journal first and if rejected, try another journal with a slightly lower impact factor and continue until your paper is accepted somewhere.

  2. Go to a specialist and lower impact journal that is more likely to accept your research.

  3. Go straight to a megajournal, which is more likely to accept your article.

These strategies all have their merits but the first option could take a long time and the other two risk not having the impact that you might have got from a more prestigious journal. Another strategy has therefore emerged:

4. Try a high impact journal first and if rejected, go straight to a megajournal.

…I suggest that you consider trying strategy 3 or 4 albeit with a few enhancements.

The ‘enhancements’ are to choose open access journals, choose high-impact ones that have sister megajournals, and try a presubmission enquiry first.

The article starts with an introduction or ‘abstract’ written by Jyoti Shah, editor of the journal, which focuses more on the problem of ‘predatory’ or scam journals. There is also an appendix added by the journal listing many different factors that might influence your choice of journal. I didn’t write these parts, but I was given a chance to comment on them.

I’m delighted to have an article in such a reputable journal and to have a chance to help its readers choose the best journal for their research. I also hope that the article will be read more widely than just among surgeons, and for that reason I asked for it to be made open access as a condition of my writing. After a bit of prompting the journal has now made it completely open access, with a CC By licence (it was already free to read).


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