Finding the Right Journal(s)
Congratulations on successfully completing your research. Now that you’re ready to share your results, your perspective must shift from the world of research to the world of academic publishing. Experienced researchers will already have identified the journal to which they plan to submit their findings when the study is still in the proposal stage. If you didn’t think that far ahead, and your study generated some significant results, it’s time to select the appropriate audience for those results. This can often seem to be as much work as the original research, if not more.
Research the Available Journals in Detail
- Review the research specialty and audience base
- Check the publication cycle (particularly if your research is topical)
- Don’t pin all your hopes on one journal — have a back-up
Follow the Submission
Journals receive a volume of research paper submissions that far exceeds their resources to check and correct every one. As a result, their journal submission requirements pass that burden onto the original authors with a comprehensive list of specific tasks/documents that must be completed, including:
- Conflict of Interest Disclosures
- Identification of funding source
- Copyright Permissions for any duplicate material
- Blind copies (with all authorship and institutional identifiers removed) for blinded peer review
- Specific article structure
- Specific formatting requirements (pdf, doc, tables, graphics)
- Specific writing style (MLS, APA, Chicago)
This will seem like a lot of work (especially after just completing an extensive research project, but one way to guarantee an automatic rejection is to miss on the required documents or ignore any one of the journal guidelines (journal submission rules).
Take a Deep Breath
At first glance, journal submission requirements (normally available in a pdf document from the journal website) can seem overwhelming:
- Gather all the material before you start – If you’re not sure, email the editorial team at the journal. Better to find out now than wait for an automatic rejection for failing to follow the journal requirements.
- Use the submission checklist – Most journals are cognizant of the workload involved in the submission process and usually offer a checklist for you to double and triple-check every item before submission – use it for your own peace of mind.
- Use the tracking option (if there is one) and be patient – If there is an option to track your submitted article through the review process, don’t check it every hour!
Three Possible Outcomes
Your submission will get one of three responses:
- accepted as it is without any changes (rare)
- returned with a request to “revise and re-submit”
- or rejected with occasional notes and feedback (depending on the generosity of the peer reviewers)
Though your emotional reaction will vary according to each type of response, it is helpful to consider all three as positive outcomes. Even a rejection will give you some feedback and the chance to submit to another journal.