Tips on Journal Publishing for Early-Career Academics and Scientists
Doctoral candidates and those scientists and academics just beginning their careers at universities and other research institutions are often advised to aim for the top-tier journals with a high impact when first submitting their writing for publication. This is far from poor advice given the current role of prestige and citations in employment and funding decisions, and for those who succeed in getting their work published in such journals, it is excellent advice indeed. However, many submissions from early-career scholars will not be accepted for publication in highly respected journals with the greatest impact, while some papers will simply be more appropriate for less prestigious journals.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Published
Open-access journals are often singled out as inappropriate choices for first or early publications. Some mentors might argue, for instance, that releasing valuable research in such a format for all to read is unwise because data that might still be productively used by the researcher in theses and conference papers is thereby made common knowledge, usually without the author earning the rewards associated with publishing in a prestigious journal with a high impact. Others would insist that those rewards are the primary goals of early publications and, given that most new open-access journals have not yet earned prestige or high citation rates, mentors might think it irresponsible to recommend or condone publication that will not be taken as seriously by employers, tenure committees and funding bodies. While these perspectives are based on the realities of modern academia and its focus on publishing prestige, for good or ill, they are hardly conducive to the efficient scholarly communication of quality work that is unlikely to find a home in top-tier journals.
There is also a good deal to be said for getting your work out there as long as the journal in which you publish your article, whether open access or not, maintains high scholarly standards, such as objective peer review and careful editorial practices, and enables potential readers to find your work effectively. The process of preparing your academic or scientific writing for publication, revising it in response to peer reviews and working with editors and other journal staff is an educational experience of great value in itself, and seeing your article online (and perhaps in print as well) for others to read has its own rewards. Your paper may even prove successful enough in terms of citations to increase the impact of the journal, but whether that proves the case or not, you will have an article published, and those seriously considering you for funding or employment will be able to read it and determine for themselves the quality of your research. You will also have a better understanding of what publishing your research entails, and you can bring that experience to your next article, thereby increasing your chances of successfully earning a place in one of those top-tier journals if that remains your goal.
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