How to Publish in High Impact Factor Academic & Scientific Journals
Whether or not you consider impact factors a valid measure of scientific influence, they nonetheless play an important role in evaluating, hiring, promoting and funding scientists, so you may well be hoping to publish your articles in journals with a high impact. If so, focussing on the quality of your research and writing is foremost, but there are also certain strategies (among the many that can be found out there on the web) that may prove helpful.
Collaborating with experts in your study area can not only mean that their knowledge, experience and skills will be working for you just as yours are working for them, but can also associate you with the ‘right’ names when it comes time to submit work to scholarly journals. Such experts may have access to expensive tools and instruments that you can share, and will likely provide connections with other scientists who may prove beneficial to your career as well. There are possible drawbacks, however. For one, it is very unlikely that you will be the first author of any publications that result from such collaboration with experts, although you may end up doing much of the work because advanced scientists will often have very little time to contribute to your joint research. Established experts may also have intellectual competitors and even enemies (as well as friendly colleagues), and this can result in your joint submissions to journals being unfairly reviewed, both before and after publication. Collaborating with experts who are not specifically working in your study area (statisticians, for example) rarely involves these drawbacks and can materially improve your results and your understanding of them, though such collaborators may require payment.
Getting your foot in the door of a high-impact journal can also be a good strategy, even if you do not expect to meet with immediate success. Your paper may simply be rejected at once by the editor when you submit it, but he or she might offer helpful feedback, and if you are fortunate enough to have your paper sent on for peer review, it just may be accepted, and you will almost certainly receive comments from one or more experts in your field. Some of these will definitely be useful for improving your article, and you may want to revise it and resubmit it to the same journal, or submit it to a different high-impact journal; either way, your chances of publication will likely improve (even if only slightly) the second time around. Alternatively, keep a close eye on the articles published by the high-impact journals that interest you, and if you find a paper in your area of expertise that you think you might be able to improve upon by limiting or expanding its implications and conclusions, for instance, via your own data or techniques, prepare your article with this in mind and explain the situation in your covering letter to the editor. Maintaining professional and respectful communication in both the letter and the paper is essential when you open a debate in this way – you do not want to insult the editor and reviewers who have approved the original paper for publication – but adding to or qualifying a valuable contribution to a high-impact journal can in itself be a valuable and publishable contribution.
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If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.