Key factors when selecting a journal: poll results


Choosing the right journal where to send our paper is critical to avoid delays and have our paper publish where we want to, for example: in an indexed one, open access, without fees to authors and from the USA.

I anticipated two kinds of reasons (objective and subjective ones), believing that it was going to have a balance response, but the objective factors had more weight in the poll. I found intriguing two of the responses:

1.- The most popular reason is “Research published on your field is there”, even slightly above “Impact Factor”.

2.- “Fee to authors” is the less valued factor when deciding where to publish.


Soft is hard and hard is soft also for publishing in journals

My opinion about the results is that academics still place great importance into the objective (or hard) criteria: It is what most of the academics make when publishing, accessible to all, becoming this way the easy (or soft) part of the process, though not the successful one.

Instead, what is a priori the soft part, it is really the difficult (or hard) one, which is to learn from the experience with journals and using this information for future publications, networking with editors, adapting to their style and preferences, getting to know the underside of the journals, as its editorial board, its owner, quality criteria, etc… Do you use your soft skills to publish in journals?


* The poll was posted in April 2013 in many academic discussion groups. Around 1000 answers were collected.

One Response to Key factors when selecting a journal: poll results

  1. Howard Doughty says:

    I could probably say all that I want to say by listing the journals to which I have subscribed since I got my first subscription to the “National Geographic” in 1956 and having people draw their own conclusions.

    On the one hand, there are the “mainstream” journals, which came as a right of passage when I first joined the Academy of Political Science (Political Science Quarterly), the Southern Political Association (The Journal of Politics) and the Canadian Institute for International Affairs (The International Journal) in 1964. Within a year or two, I was also a member of the American Political Science Association (APSR) and the Canadian Political Science Association (CJPS), and I have come and gone from a number of “professional associations” ever since. I am PLEASED to have had stuff accepted and published in the “main stream.”

    On the other hand, I have also been a recipient of marginally mainstream (Politics and Society, The New Politics, etc,) and maybe semi-insurgent journals such as the iconic New Left Review, New Politics and Review of Radical Political Economy. I am PROUD to have a bit of my stuff accepted and published there.

    And on the third hand, there are the journals which I have edited in the past and no longer publish (no causal connection need be implied) such as Bridges: Explorations in Science, Technology and Society; The Canadian Studies Bulletin; College Canada; and journals in which I still work as Book Review Editor (The College Quarterly – – and The Innovation Journal –, which have no organization association with major professional association, but try to maintain a decent level of academic rigor.

    And, on the fourth hand, there’s everything else … from personal blogs to industry sales devices to “schmoozefests”, in which people treat academic activity into a retreat into the non-world of virtual Facebook scholarship.

    As a matter of fact, I’m interested in all of them (or I wouldn’t be writing here. I just have one rule. I don’t pay to be published!

    And I have a general guideline: academia, scholarship (call it what you will) is deeply involved and may no longer be extricable from the maw of predatory capitalism. Curriculum is commodified. Associate Professors are becoming Walmart Associates. “Is a college degree worth it?” is said to be a serious question. And, above all, the corporate agenda (content, process, finance and relentless assault on academic freedom) is transforming postsecondary education to the point that … it is an ideological adjunct to the military-industrial-congressional-commercial-financial-ideological complex.

    So … at the risk of sounding like an insurgent (a little late at 68), I ask you: Why do you want to publish? No, I mean it! To get a full-time job? To get tenure? To advance knowledge in your field? To enlighten others? To emancipate others? To bind thought, knowledge and politics to promote transformative change?

    Give me an answer to those questions and the answers to your own will become intuitively obvious!

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