Identify a Target Journal for Your Publication 3/5

It is also essential to identify an appropriate target journal. There are several factorsto consider here, including the significance of the study, the subject matter and the impact ratings of candidate journals. Assessing the significance of the study is the most difficult, since it is highly subjective. Clearly, all studies are important to the researchers involved, and they are often surprised when friends, relatives and referees fail to see their importance. However, their significance can be roughly assessed by considering the applicability, novelty and generality of the results.

If the results of a study can be applied in multiple disciplines, or major industrial processes, the interest in them will be very high. Similarly, if they include highly unexpected or novel results that are likely to create a major shift in theoretical understanding, the interest will be very high and wide. In addition, if a study has been very extensive, covering large numbers of factors, there is likely to be much greater interest than if the study has been very restricted. In such cases submission to a very highly ranked general science journal, such as Nature or Science, can be considered. In other cases submission to a journal covering your field of interest is more likely to be successful. It is easy to list possible options in this respect, and both their impact factors and the specific areas that they tend to focus on.

The next step is to identify the journal, amongst likely candidates, with the highest impact factor that routinely accepts papers of similar significance to your study. It is then essential to read the journal’s instructions for authors thoroughly.

Astonishingly large proportions of authors either fail to do this, or read them but fail to follow them. Editors of journals find this extremely irritating, since it means that if they accept papers by these authors, a lot of time will have to be wasted telling the authors to amend their papers in accordance with the guideline s. In practice, of course, the editor may simply decide to reject the papers and publish papers by authors who have followed the guidelines instead. Hence, failure to follow the guidelines can seriously compromise the chances of publication (and at best create unnecessary delays).

The journal’s guidelines are usually available on-line and should be consulted prior to writing. Perhaps the most obvious restriction is the number of words – it is remarkable how many papers are rejected or require revision because they are too long. Usually the maximum numbers of words allowed for both the Abstract and the paper as a whole will be specified. It is wise to know these limits before beginning to write. Indeed, they provide a useful guide. If the maximum length of a paper’s main text is 5,000 words, the journal’s editor will probably expect most papers to have ca. 4,000–5,000 words. Thus, if your study can be fully covered in less than 2,000 words, there is a substantial chance that the editor will regard it as too slight, that is, as containing too little information (unless the findings are unusually important or unexpected). In such cases, submission to other journals may be more fruitful –

or submission to the same journal as a Short communication, if it has a section for such contributions.

When you have completed, or nearly completed, a draft of a paper you may decide that the first identified journal is not the best choice, perhaps because the paper is too short, too slight or even possibly that a higher-impact journal might accept it. In such cases another target journal should be identified, and the paper should be adjusted in accordance with that journal’s instructions. This is tedious, but it is far better than either sending it to a journal that is likely to reject it or sending it in an inappropriate format.

In addition, there may be limitations on the number of tables or figures and the nature of figures. For example, some publishers ask authors to cover the cost of reproducing figures in color; such expense can be avoided by ensuring that figures are clear in black and white and perhaps providing a link to a website where more detailed versions can be viewed in full color. Furthermore, journals often require either British or US English spellings and grammar to be used. Thus, it is important to use the appropriate language setting and apply your word processor’s spell-checking function before submitting a paper. They may also have certain other linguistic requirements, and should be followed (if possible).

Go to MYThesis Hub comprehensive list of British or US English spellings differences fromHere 

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Awareness of Linguistic Limitations 

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Selectively Review the Literature



Blackwell, J., & Martin, J. (2011). A scientific approach to scientific writing (p.6). Springer Science & Business Media.

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