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Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet: A Comprehensive Model of Journal Selection Criteria for Researchers in a Broad Range of Academic Disciplines

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Building upon previously published articles from 18 different disciplines, this research delves into the area of how academics inform one another, addressing the issue of how academic schol-ars can determine the optimum journal for submission of their research. A comprehensive model of the journal selection process is developed, including 39 detailed considerations spread over three major categories: likelihood of timely acceptance; potential impact of the manuscript (jour-nal credibility, prestige, visibility); and philosophical and ethical issues. Specific guidelines are given for evaluating such concepts as manuscript-journal "fit," journal prestige, and journal visi-bility. The graphical model developed here assists authors in comparing journal alternatives and provides new researchers with insights into how the three primary journal selection categories are weighed and balanced. In addition, less commonly understood concepts, such as Time to Publica-tion, Review Cycle Time Delay, and Publication Time Delay, are identified and named, and their relationships are defined in this article. On a broader level, this research demonstrates that schol-ars across disciplines have substantial common interests with respect to journal publishing, that the ties that unite academics seeking to publish are strong, and that the potential for future cross-disciplinary research in the area of how academics inform one another is correspondingly robust.
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International Journal of Doctoral Studies Volume 3, 2008
Editor: Yair Levy
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet:
A Comprehensive Model of Journal Selection
Criteria for Researchers in a Broad Range of
Academic Disciplines
Linda V. Knight and Theresa A. Steinbach
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
lknight@cdm.depaul.edu; tsteinbach@cdm.depaul.edu
Abstract
Building upon previously published articles from 18 different disciplines, this research delves
into the area of how academics inform one another, addressing the issue of how academic schol-
ars can determine the optimum journal for submission of their research. A comprehensive model
of the journal selection process is developed, including 39 detailed considerations spread over
three major categories: likelihood of timely acceptance; potential impact of the manuscript (jour-
nal credibility, prestige, visibility); and philosophical and ethical issues. Specific guidelines are
given for evaluating such concepts as manuscript-journal “fit,” journal prestige, and journal visi-
bility. The graphical model developed here assists authors in comparing journal alternatives and
provides new researchers with insights into how the three primary journal selection categories are
weighed and balanced. In addition, less commonly understood concepts, such as Time to Publica-
tion, Review Cycle Time Delay, and Publication Time Delay, are identified and named, and their
relationships are defined in this article. On a broader level, this research demonstrates that schol-
ars across disciplines have substantial common interests with respect to journal publishing, that
the ties that unite academics seeking to publish are strong, and that the potential for future cross-
disciplinary research in the area of how academics inform one another is correspondingly robust.
Keywords: Journal, research, outlet, journal selection, journal publication, journal submission,
publishing, manuscript.
Background
The goal of this research was to develop a comprehensive model of the considerations that an
author ought to contemplate when selecting a journal for submission of a manuscript. Most aca-
demics are required to conduct research and publish results. Journal selection is particularly im-
portant to academics because as Donovan (n.d.) explained:
Although we all publish in a range of
academic forms and forums, such as
conference abstracts, book reviews, pa-
pers in conference proceedings, invited
chapters, and books and monographs...,
it is the peer-reviewed journal articles
that receive the most notice from pro-
motion panels and search committees…
(p. 1)
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Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
60
Academics typically make journal selection decisions repeatedly throughout their careers. Since
the submission and evaluation process can easily take months and academic researchers are ex-
pected to submit a manuscript to only one journal at any given time, the proper selection of a
journal is critical to publishing success. Yet, we found very little prior research specifically di-
rected at the topic of journal selection and no existing model or framework to guide the process.
Our initial goal was to develop a model of journal selection for the disciplines in which we typi-
cally publish, Information Systems and Informing Science. Here Information Systems is defined
as “the field of inquiry that attempts to provide the business client with information in a form,
format, and schedule that maximizes its effectiveness,” while Informing Science is defined as
the emerging transdiscipline whose goal is to “provide their clientele with information in a
form, format, and schedule that maximizes its effectiveness” (Cohen, 1999). Thus, Information
Systems is a subset of Informing Science, and Informing Science overlaps with virtually all other
disciplines, since it is difficult to conceive of a discipline that would not include the need to in-
form efficiently and effectively. Given the breadth of these disciplines, it soon became apparent
that any journal selection model that would be appropriate for Information Systems and Inform-
ing Science would also be appropriate for a wide range of academic researchers in a variety of
fields. Thus, our goal became the development of a comprehensive model that would guide the
journal selection process for academic authors in general, regardless of discipline. Initially, we
expected this model to include coverage of some disciplinary distinctions; however, as the rest of
this paper demonstrates, we ultimately found little differentiation, even between widely disparate
disciplines. Table 1 lists the major disciplines researched for this study.
Table 1: Disciplines researched as part of this study
Agriculture Finance Journalism
Communications Geography Library/ Information sciences
Computer Science Healthcare Nursing
Economics Information Systems Psychology
Education Information Technology Sociology
Engineering Informing Science Women’s Studies
Previous Research
Despite searching within a wide range of academic disciplines, we found only two prior research
papers directly aimed at the journal selection process. Both appeared in nursing journals. The
first, a case study in a nursing journal, detailed the process of submitting an article to six different
journals before achieving acceptance (van Teijlingen & Hundley, 2002). While the authors did
not specifically develop a framework or model of the journal selection process, they did highlight
insights that they had gained into the process. These include matching the writing style and ter-
minology used within the journal, meshing with the multidisciplinary or unidisciplinary nature of
the journal, the journal’s lag time to publication, the level of credibility attached to the journal,
and the journal’s Impact Factor, defined as the number of times an average article in that journal
is cited within a year. The second article on the journal selection process (Saver, 2006) advised
authors to consider whom they want to reach, whether the journals they are considering are peer-
reviewed, and how often the journals are published (as an indicator of how long it might take an
article to be published).
A related article that does not directly address the journal selection process as a whole, argues
that bibliometrics can be used to identify suitable journal outlets (Robinson, 1991). The idea here
Knight & Steinbach
61
is that “bibliographic coupling occurs when two articles contain citations to the same articles or
journals,” and that an author could rank potential journal outlets by their citation distance from
the author’s manuscript. This type of analysis has not been widely adopted, perhaps because it
can become cumbersome, and because it does not consider such factors as whether the research
has been well enough planned, executed, and described to be accepted by the journal being con-
sidered.
Identifying Possibilities
Before the most appropriate journal can be selected from a list of potential journals, such a list of
prospective journals must be developed. Many possibilities exist for the authors to use in building
an initial list of potential journals. Authors may begin with journals cited in the reference list of
their article (Searing, 2006), assuming that it has been at least sketched out. In other words, in
addition to the major outputs of the literature review process (Levy & Ellis, 2006), authors who
are alert to the possibilities also may recognize potential journal outlets for their finished work as
a byproduct of their literature review. A Libraries Reference Guide distributed by Washington
State University (2007) refers scholars to Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory
(www.ulrichsweb.com/ulrichsweb/), as well as the Directory of Open Access Journals
(www.doaj.org). This same publication recommends Journal Citation Reports
(scientific.thomsonreuters.com/products/jcr/), an annual publication that “contains analyzed cita-
tion data for individual journal citations,” as well as the Journal Info website (jinfo.lub.lu.se/) that
summarizes “…reader accessibility, cost data, and a variety of quality metrics for over 18,000
scholarly journals.” Cabell’s online directory (www.cabells.com/) is recommended by Williams,
Hammer, Pierczynski-Ward, & Henson (2007) who state, “Along with providing a list of article
topics, Cabell’s explains each journal’s guidelines and review process. It also indicates how often
a specific journal is cited in other journals.” There are also specific guides for specific fields. For
example, for nursing, there is CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Lit-
erature (www.cinahl.com), as well as the Nurse Au-
thor and Editor website
(www.nurseauthoreditor.com). Many disciplines
maintain websites and discussion groups, or journal
ranking lists. For Information Systems, there is
Lamp’s journal ranking site
(lamp.infosys.deakin.edu.au/journals/index.php), in
addition to the AISNet site (www.aisnet.org), which
provides a comparison of a variety of alternative
journal rankings. For Informing Science, the Inform-
ing Science Institute (www.informingscience.org) is
a site to visit. For journalism, Nordicom Finland
(www.uta.fi/laitokset/tiedotus/contents/) provides a
list of “...central scientific and professional journals
in the area of mass media, communication, and jour-
nalism. Journals are gathered from all over the world.
Most of them are in English. Nordic journals are our
speciality.” In addition, Northwestern University Li-
brary
(www.library.northwestern.edu/collections/journalis
m/journalrankings.html) recommends that academics
seeking a journalism outlet for their manuscript refer
to the Iowa Guide
(fm.iowa.uiowa.edu/fmi/xsl/iowaguide/search.xsl)
Note concerning prior research
Many of the ideas quoted here from
past literature are in fact so axiomatic
that many scholars in many disci-
plines have suggested approximately
the same thing. There is no way to say
who was first to recommend that a
faculty member “Ask your col-
leagues” or “Consult a librarian,” for
example. Thus, we have chosen to
refer in this research to articles pub-
lished in a wide variety of fields,
choosing articles that seem to us to be
particularly insightful, while recogniz-
ing that many others likely have stated
the same or similar ideas. We are
hopeful that readers who are familiar
with either a very early suggestion of
one of the ideas presented here, or
with a particularly well-worded quota-
tion on one of the topics covered here,
will forward those references to us for
inclusion in future work.
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
62
which Northwestern notes is no longer updated but still useful, Journal Citation Reports, and the
Web of Science (scientific.thomsonreuters.com/products/wos/). Finally, beyond these types of
resources, colleagues and librarians also may assist a faculty member in identifying a list of jour-
nals to consider.
Method
Prior research from a variety of disciplines was analyzed and organized into categories through
the use of a card sorting technique. As a result of this process, five major categories became ap-
parent. These five categories represent the five major considerations that an author should con-
template when selecting a journal for submission of a manuscript: (1) likelihood of acceptance,
(2) credibility and prestige of the journal, (3) potential impact of the manuscript (visibility), (4)
timeline from submission to publication, and (5) philosophical and ethical issues. Within each
category, prior literature was used to compile a list of key considerations when selecting a journal
for manuscript submission. Finally, all of these considerations were incorporated into a model of
the journal selection process.
Five Major Considerations
We now discuss each of the five major considerations that an author should contemplate when
selecting a journal for manuscript submission.
Likelihood of Manuscript Acceptance
Perhaps the single most important point in selecting a journal for manuscript submission concerns
the “fit” between the journal and the manuscript. As Carroll-Johnson (2001) noted, “Choosing the
wrong journal can result in outright rejection or, worse, rejection only after a lengthy peer review
process that reveals the paper is just not suitable.” The need to avoid rejections and the accompa-
nying time loss raises the issue of how an author can identify a journal that might be a good “fit”
for a particular manuscript. The most basic consideration is the fit between the style and length
requirements of the journal and the manuscript. Some journals will consider a manuscript that is
inconsistent with the journal’s style or length requirements, treating these as variables that can be
modified before publication. However, some journal editors will reject a nonconforming manu-
script outright (Whitney, 1995). Regardless of the journal’s position on this issue, there is un-
doubtedly some benefit in submitting a manuscript that, at least in terms of appearance, fits the
expectations of the journal’s editor and reviewers. Writing in 1982 on the more generic topic of
how to get started publishing, Carroll-Johnson noted:
A careful review of recent issues of various journals will reveal the type of arti-
cles typically accepted by each journal. For instance, some journals favor manu-
scripts with tight research designs and sophisticated statistical analyses while
others place less emphasis on rigorous research and more value on practical ap-
plication for practitioners. (p. 322)
On a similar theme, Brunn (1988) noted, “Whereas some journals may publish long (20-25 page)
articles, others publish shorter papers and notes. There are journals that will permit many maps,
long tables, extensive bibliographies, and complex statistical analyses; and those that will not.”
Thompson (1995) recommended that an author:
Read through recent issues to see what the journal’s focus seems to be...Most
journals publish guidelines for authors either in every issue or periodically. Read
them carefully; believe what they say. Some journals also include editorials—
read these too if they shed light on editorial policy or style. (p. 342)
Knight & Steinbach
63
Brunn (1988) observed that successful researchers likely both “study very carefully the contents
and editorial statements of journals and discuss the best outlets with colleagues.” Mortimer
(2001) recommended:
Authors should pay attention to such details as the range and scope of topics pub-
lished, uses of primary resources, and approaches that contributors take in ad-
vancing arguments. These items can indicate the inventiveness of a publication’s
editor(s) and creative dimensions of the presentations… (p. 181)
In addition to the breadth and depth of coverage, Carroll-Johnson (2001) recommended consider-
ing the tone of the journal, whether informal, serious, or scientific. She also suggested attempting
to find examples in the target journal of the type of manuscript the author intends to submit.
Klingner, Scanlon, and Pressley (2005) advised that the author in search of a journal to publish a
manuscript should “in addition to reading articles, look at the list of editorial board members. If
the journal is appropriate, you should know at least some of the editorials by reputation and be at
least somewhat familiar with their work.” Manuscript-journal “fit” is an even more important
consideration for highly selective journals because of the risk of rejection. Klingner et al.(2005)
recommended that “if you are considering targeting a journal with a very high rejection rate, you
should read a few articles in the journal with an eye to answering the question, ‘Is my article as
well-reasoned and does it make as great a contribution as the articles this journal publishes?’”
While some papers are rejected because of the quality of the underlying research or the quality of
the presentation, Donovan (n.d.) noted that some papers also are rejected by journals simply be-
cause, while they may fit the overall theme of the journal, they do not fit its specific niche. Fur-
ther, Donovan observed that this niche changes over time as new editors become associated with
the journal. Mortimer (2001) noted, “Potential published authors should not consider the perusal
of journals to be a one-time activity…Journals are as fluid and dynamic as are the fields they rep-
resent.” Mortimer explained the particular importance of becoming aware of changes in a jour-
nal’s editors and editorial boards. Each journal editor has a unique concept of an ideal article. For
example, one editor (Sillars, 2004) described the ideal article as one that involves “core con-
cerns,” is “of interest to a wide audience of scholars,” is “written in a style that is accessible to a
varied academic audience,” is “theoretically and socially significant,” and is an “ambitious under-
taking, with ‘ambitiousness’ defined in terms of rich, extensive data sets and / or careful and in-
tensive analysis.” While a manuscript that addresses core concerns, provides significant new
knowledge, and is supported by thorough research would be of interest to most editors, some of
the other manuscript characteristics that Sillars lists are less universal. For example, while Sillars
does not consider a uni-disciplinary manuscript that is of interest to a narrow niche of scholars as
ideal, other editors might. Thus, it is worthwhile for authors to read and thoroughly analyze edito-
rial comments as they apply to the manuscript at hand.
Journals have been accused of a wide variety of publication biases, and these biases, when pre-
sent, can destroy an otherwise ideal journal-manuscript fit. Donovan (n.d.) opined that rejection
sometimes results from what he calls “…geographic prejudice. Most of the leading international
journals in any field are published in North America or Europe, have mainly North American or
European editors and reviewers, and publish a lot of papers on North America and Europe.” Van
Teilingen and Hundley (2002) reported, “Publication bias may occur because of a tendency for
journals to accept only papers that have statistically significant results and not to report nonsig-
nificant effects.…” They also reported that just as significant results are more likely to be re-
ported than those that are not, studies are more likely to be published than articles dealing with
methodological issues, and primary research is more likely to be published than secondary analy-
sis or manuscripts dealing with theoretical thinking. Quoting studies by Mahoney in 1977 and
Peters and Ceci in 1982, van Teilingen and Hundley (2002) noted that articles from more ‘re-
spected’ institutions are more readily accepted by journals. Thus, an author considering a journal
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
64
should evaluate recently published articles in terms of authors’ geographic spread, emphasis upon
reporting only primary studies or only significant results, and prestige level of institutions repre-
sented. If there is not a good fit in one or more of these areas, it does not mean that the author
should automatically stop consideration of the journal, but it does mean that the author should
proceed cautiously, and take particular note of the other aspects of fit discussed in this manu-
script. In calling for authors to recognize a journal’s biases, we are not supporting or even accept-
ing the existence of the bias. In fact, we applaud authors who refuse to submit to certain publica-
tion outlets on ethical grounds. We are, however, recognizing that in matters of journal place-
ment, an author should be practical. Recognizing the existence of a bias allows the author to ei-
ther eliminate the journal from consideration or devise ways to adapt the article to overcome the
bias.
Some researchers believe that you need to select a particular journal before you begin writing, in
order to specifically aim your writing. Thompson (1995) explains:
Spend some time before you write picking your target journals for a given pro-
ject. Rank order two or three as the outlets you select. You need to try to write
for specific journals. Editors and reviewers look very carefully at the fit between
a manuscript and their publication. (p. 342)
Harper (2006) agrees, noting, “Before writing the manuscript, the author (or authors) should have
a journal in mind for submission. This is important for the author in determining what guidelines
and writing style to follow.” If an author does indeed select the journal before writing, then the
advice of Carroll-Johnson (2001) is particularly relevant: “Just prior to sending the manuscript to
the editor, reconfirm that you have chosen the right journal…”
There are at least three ways to address a manuscript-journal fit problem. First, Harper (2006)
recommends, “In writing the review of the literature, the author should be careful not to overlook
citing publications from the journal of choice or publications by authors on the journal’s editorial
board who are scholarly authorities on the manuscript’s topic of focus.” Thus, the fit of the article
can be enhanced during the writing process. Second, if a high quality journal is a reach for a par-
ticular article; its chances of acceptance are enhanced if it is submitted for a special themed issue.
Williams et al. (2007) quote a 1995 study by Henson and Buttery that concluded that “often three
or four times as many manuscripts are received for general issues as are received for publication
in a themed issue.” Third, when unsure of the fit between a journal and a manuscript, some au-
thors write the journal’s editor for advice. A query letter that includes a description of the topic
and why it is important to the journal’s readers, as well as a description of the paper itself, is rec-
ommended by Saver (2006). However, the overall opinion of those editors who have addressed
this topic is that, for an author who does his or her homework and researches the fit between a
manuscript and the journal in question, writing the editor in advance of submission is not of sig-
nificant value. “Most editors would probably encourage the submission unless the content was
not the focus of the journal” (Brunn, 1988). Thompson (1995) agrees that query letters prior to
submission are generally a waste of time, noting, “The editor will always encourage submission if
the manuscript is remotely a possible fit, so as not to miss any prize-winning manuscripts.” We
would add that, while editors are more likely than not to encourage submission if the topic and
methodology are appropriate for the journal, there is still some significant potential benefit in ask-
ing an editor’s opinion before submitting an article. Some editors will respond, not only with en-
couragement to submit, but also with specific suggestions on how to strengthen the manuscript to
increase its likelihood of acceptance. Editors may call attention to particular aspects of the jour-
nal’s requirements that are used as a litmus test to weed out articles, or they may make helpful
suggestions about how to frame your background literature or the way in which to present your
statistical results, for example. Even editors who discourage submission may respond with sug-
gestions of other journals where the manuscript might find a more welcome reception. The key in
Knight & Steinbach
65
asking an editor’s opinion on submission is to write a tightly worded email that accurately de-
scribes your research question, your methodology, and the significance of your findings; send it at
a slow time for academics; and then read beyond the “yes / no” response to gain insights that will
help you improve your likelihood of paper acceptance, whether with this journal or with another.
Journal Reputation
Journal prestige is an important consideration for an author, since the prestige of the journals in
which the author’s work is published directly influences the author’s evaluation as a faculty
member. Robey, Walstrom, Adams, and Swanson (1998), leading a panel on the use of journal
ranking or rating lists within some academic departments to evaluate faculty, noted that “publica-
tions in a leading journal weigh more heavily in the evaluation of faculty performance.” Accord-
ing to Klingner et al. (2005):
You want your work to appear in the best outlet that will accept it. Rewards of all
sorts follow from publication in frequently cited, visible journals. These range
from more positive personnel reviews, to more favorable grant reviews, to invita-
tions to publish more. (p. 15)
In order to discuss a journal’s level of credibility or prestige, we must first consider the definition
of these terms. Suber (2002) notes that “if quality is real excellence, then prestige is reputed ex-
cellence.” Thus, prestige and credibility are based in perception. That perception, while it may not
be completely accurate, likely has some basis in fact. As Hutchison, Lee, and White (2004) noted,
“Resources and relationships lead to reputations.” What then are the key resources and relation-
ships that determine a journal’s reputation? Three prior articles, shown in Table 2, lend insight
into this question.
Table 2: What makes a journal more prestigious? Factors that raise a journal’s reputation
Brorsen (1987) Klinger (2005) Robey et al. (1998)
1 Older
2 Larger circulation Wider circulation
3 Lower acceptance rate Lower acceptance rate Review process, including
lower acceptance rate
4 Less specialized
5 Technical or theoretical
6 Well-known editor and edi-
torial board members
Institutional affiliations of
editor and board members
7 Often quoted over time
8 High impact factor (often
quoted recently)
9 High visibility in multiple
computerized databases
10 Affiliation with a prestigious
organization
11 Higher rating in articles that
compare different journals
As Table 2 demonstrates, we have identified eleven factors cited in the literature that contribute
toward raising a journal’s reputation, and thus determining its credibility and prestige. Despite a
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
66
willingness to discuss the concept of a prestige journal, authors in a wide variety of disciplines
concur that a prestigious journal does not always publish prestigious articles. For example, we
find this from an article published in a finance journal, “Editors of some journals recognize and
publish influential articles consisting of original research; they also include other types of arti-
cles” (Borokhovich, Bricker, & Simkins, 2000), and this from an article published in an Organi-
zation Science journal, “Although higher-prestige journals publish more high-value articles, edi-
torial selection involves considerable randomness” (Starbuck, 2005). Further, Katterattanakul,
Han, and Hall (2003) found that in computing fields, “on average, journals with a technical or a
specialty focus attain high rankings.” This is consistent with Brorsen’s (1987) suggestion (noted
in Table 2) that technical or theoretical journals tend to be more prestigious, as well as Borok-
hovich, Bricker, & Simkins’ finding (2000) that “some areas of finance, such as those in corpo-
rate finance, tend to appear in journals with higher impact factors than do other articles…” Thus,
it appears that many different disciplines have unique subsets that are considered the most pres-
tigious and that journals dedicated to or centering on these subsets tend to be regarded as more
prestigious by those in the field.
One way for authors to evaluate the prestige of a journal would be to step through Table 2 and
evaluate the journal on each of the eleven criteria listed. However, there are other approaches. An
author might ask colleagues for their opinions of the journal. Or, an author might rely on pub-
lished articles that rank journals using various methods, such as number of citations or opinions
of those in the field. Alternatively, an author might rely on a ranked list of journals kept by his or
her academic department. While some universities and departments strongly support the use of
journal rankings, the very practice of departmental ranking of journals has been criticized on mul-
tiple grounds, including the risk of considering local rather than global values and the likelihood
of putting the emphasis on the journal’s reputation, rather than upon the quality of the faculty
member’s research (Burt Swanson of UCLA, quoted in Robey et al., 1998). Swanson also opined
that “the existence of a list of target journals does not reflect well upon the university…,” and that
“progress in a field is reflected by its most influential published articles, regardless of where they
are published, rather than by the contents of the journals appearing on any particular target list.”
On the topic of ranking lists, Lang (2003), writing in an Informing Science journal, cited specific
examples of journals (including the European Journal of Information Systems, the MIS Quarterly,
and Information Systems Research) viewed differently on the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In
his view:
The prevalent use of journal ranking lists as a basis for tenure and promotion de-
cisions is potentially very damaging. Indeed, some of the findings of interna-
tional journal ranking studies are hard to believe and it is clear that in many cases
they are heavily biased by regional identities and cultural value. (p. 24)
Just as there is considerable debate over the appropriateness of departmental or university journal
lists, there is also considerable debate over the use of journal impact factors. The impact factor,
which is itself calculated and published by a for-profit academic publisher, the Thompson Corpo-
ration, is a recent ratio between the number of citations and the number of articles published by
the journal. Impact factor alone, however, is likely too restrictive a measure of journal quality.
Peffers and Ya (2003) opined that the best measuring stick for journals is an overall concept of
value:
We think that “value” is a broader concept and perhaps more relevant to an ap-
plied field of research like IS than other measures, such as quality, rigor, rele-
vance or status. IS researchers have a variety of audiences and purposes in mind
when publishing research. Aggregate value is a concept that allows us to summa-
rize the benefit that comes from publication. It is implicit in this measure that
Knight & Steinbach
67
value can be affected by a journal’s quality, novelty, audience size, and audience
profile. (p. 79)
Regardless of how authors view elements like journal ranking lists or impact factors, authors de-
siring to make an optimal journal submission decision must recognize the existence of these ele-
ments and their potential impact upon the recognition that a manuscript published in a particular
journal is likely to receive.
In addition to journal prestige, quality, or value, authors also need to consider whether to aim for
journals situated squarely in their own discipline or to target journals in neighboring or related
fields. Referring to a 1982 article by Broder and Ziemer that studied salaries of agricultural
economists, Brorsen (1987) noted that the article found that “there is a bonus for publishing
within one’s own discipline and that people think highly of journals that are familiar to them.” On
the other hand, some fields are inherently multi-disciplinary in nature and may be more welcom-
ing to high quality journal articles from a variety of fields. An example of such a field is Informa-
tion Systems (Robey et al., 1998). Recommending academics in other areas consider journals
from a broad range of fields, Pollard (2005) explains his viewpoint this way:
For example, my field of study happens to be deaf individuals. However, I do not
restrict my publication outlets to the few “deaf journals” that exist. There are
many times when something I’ve written could be of interest to a wider or alto-
gether different audience, even though the content of the article happens to be
about deaf people. I can always inform my colleagues in the small deafness field
to an article that I have published elsewhere. Informing and motivating a broader
audience to find something that I have published in an obscure deaf journal is a
lot more difficult. (p. 4)
Balancing the possibility of publication in a prestige journal against the potential time lost in the
review process that precedes a rejection is a difficult problem. While Witt (2003) noted that “I
will initially send my manuscript to the most prestigious journal,” other authors (noted earlier)
have put more emphasis upon seeking a journal-manuscript “fit” in order to avoid wasting time
with lengthy rejections. The consensus appears to lie with the latter opinion, however, Klingner et
al. (2005) point out that “even if your manuscript is not accepted, one reason to favor the best
journals is that they tend to provide feedback of the highest quality, which can be quite helpful to
you as you work to improve your manuscript.”
Ultimately, all authors must face the choice of whether to attempt publication in high quality
journals. Thompson (1995) noted:
These are personal decisions. Some people only want to publish in the most re-
spected journals. Some people think the quality of the piece overrides issues in-
volving the quality of the journal; these folks believe that an important article
will be recognized no matter what journal publishes the work. (p. 343)
Whether quality articles published in minor journals are appropriately recognized today is a topic
for debate. However, projecting into the future, Witt (2003) foresees that “once all journals are
electronic and all are indexed in the most popular search engines, where something is published
may have far less impact than who actually reads a published article.”
Journal Visibility and Potential Article Impact
Thompson (1995) defined a journal’s visibility as “including subscription base and whether the
regular readership is homogeneous and includes the people you want to impact.” However, in
recent years, the Internet has shifted the spotlight away from subscribers and toward a broader
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
68
concept that considers how many people have access both to the article and to its abstract through
various online indexes. Witt (2003) noted:
To me, the most important factor impacting publication preferences are beliefs
about who has access to and reads each journal. How available is each journal in
each country? If I am trying to achieve wide distribution of my thoughts and
ideas, I want my manuscript to be in a journal that has the chance of reaching the
widest possible readership. Thus, my manuscript submission decisions are based
on who will be able to read the published piece: how available is each journal in
Canada, the United States, and elsewhere; and what journal databases abstract
each journal. (p. 331)
According to a Libraries Reference Guide distributed by Washington State University (2007),
“Wide accessibility of a scholarly work allows for, but does not guarantee a correspondingly wide
reading audience and as a result can possibly result in a higher number of citations to that work.”
Antelman (2004) found that in four disciplines (philosophy, political science, electrical and elec-
tronic engineering, and mathematics) freely available articles did have greater research impact, as
measured by citations in the ISI Web of Science database. Whether making an article freely
available on the Web actually causes greater citations has been debated on several grounds, in-
cluding the possibility that authors of more important work might be more likely to make it avail-
able online (Davis, 2006). In short, a clear causation between freely available Web publication
and increased citations has been argued, but not proven. Regardless, a wide potential audience,
whether it is facilitated by Internet access to a published article or not, does not necessarily imply
that an article will be widely read or cited. The key here is to actually reach a large group that is
also the right target audience for an article: those that will read it, rely on and repeat information
from it, and cite it in their work (Carroll-Johnson, 2001).
Likelihood of Timely Publication
Some authors have particularly tight timeframes for publication. Authors with upcoming tenure
or promotion cases or who will be seeking a new position by a particular date are most likely to
have strict time criteria when selecting a journal outlet for their work. Authors whose data or sub-
ject matter is of greatest significance for a limited time have similar strict time criteria. As Lang
(2003) observed, “Researchers whose area is topical only within the short or medium-term face
the unenviable prospect that the passage of time may render their findings obsolete before they
are published.” For example, an article about the year 2000 computer problem would have little
significance if published now. In addition, authors who hope to influence practitioners may have
a particular need for timely publication (Fitzgerald, 2003). In any case, it is axiomatic that all au-
thors have some time criteria, since no academic can reasonably expect to expend unlimited time
awaiting publication of an article into which they have already invested considerable time and
effort.
Time to journal publication is actually the sum of (1) the time from initial submission to final ac-
ceptance of a finished article and (2) the time from final acceptance to actual publication (Sear-
ing, 2006). We term these two timeframes the Review Cycle Time Delay and the Publication
Time Delay. As shown in Figure 1, the Review Cycle Time Delay can be estimated based on the
typical turnaround time for the journal combined with the number of revisions typically required.
However, Review Cycle Time Delay also is heavily dependent upon the ability of the author to
submit timely updates to the article and the ability of the author to effectively incorporate edito-
rial feedback. When authors ignore or give slight attention to requested editorial changes, the Re-
view Cycle Time Delay extends. Of course, authors are not expected to always directly incorpo-
rate every editorial request. However, it is likely that readers will question the same areas as the
Knight & Steinbach
69
reviewers or editor, so those topics will normally need to be strengthened before a paper is pub-
lished. When authors rapidly and directly address editorial feedback, they shorten their Review
Cycle Time Delay. On the other hand, authors have virtually no control of the Publication Time
Delay.
Publication Time Delay is actually composed of two elements: the publisher’s processing time,
along with any publication backlog. Many journals, particularly print journals, have backlogs of a
year or more of complete, fully accepted articles awaiting publication. Thus, Publication Time
Delay is an area where online journals offer authors genuine advantages. Online journals typically
have a much shorter publisher processing time than print journals, and online journals generally
have little or no backlog of finalized, accepted articles awaiting publication. Thus, authors with
short publication timelines should consider online journals. The advantages and disadvantages of
publishing in such journals are discussed in further detail in the following section on philosophi-
cal issues.
While authors have little control over Publication Time Delay, journal editors and publishers do
have considerable control over its processing time element. Clark, Singleton-Jackson, and
Newsom (2000) recommend that journals “adopt timeliness as an important indicator of quality,”
and that they apply Business Process Redesign (BPR) to the journal publication process. In par-
ticular, they recommended that journals use an electronic submission system, a Web-based re-
viewer form, and a system for tracking papers. Authors seeking timely publication of their work
may wish to use these features as one way to identify journals likely to have shorter publication
processing time.
For an author attempting to select a journal for article submission, accurately estimating the Re-
view Cycle and Publication Time Delays can be critical. Klingner et al. (2005) recommends that
authors “seek information, perhaps by e-mailing the editor, about how long it takes the journal to
review an article, how many rounds of review the journal typically requires before it accepts an
article, and the publication lag from the point of acceptance.” While all editors will be cautious in
their response, we would add that authors should be wary of particularly vague responses. For
example, all editors should know specifically what their publication backlog is. We also urge au-
thors to keep in mind that their article may well not be “average” for any particular journal. If the
journal is a stretch for the article, then even if the article is accepted, its Review Cycle Time De-
lay is likely to be correspondingly longer.
Some academics, discouraged by long response or publication times from journals, have sug-
gested submitting the same article to more than one journal at a time. However, as Pressman
noted (1994), the number of papers accepted by all journals in total would not increase, but by
Journal’s Time to Publication = Review Cycle Time Delay + Publication Time Delay
Journal’s Review Cycle Time Delay = f (x, y, z )
Where x = anticipated average review time
y = anticipated number of review cycles
z = ability of author to quickly and effectively address editorial feedback
Journal’s Publication Time Delay = g ( p, q )
Where p = publisher’s processing time once manuscript is complete
q = backlog of finished articles awaiting publication
Figure 1: Variable Relationships in Determining Time to Publication
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
70
increasing the amount of total reviewing in process, journal response times would actually suffer.
“…the bottleneck that now lengthens acceptance of a paper will move from the author’s list of
journals for sequential submission and to the larger pile of papers on the desks of referees and
editors because the paper is simultaneously submitted.” Pressman also argues that the quality of
published articles would suffer since “…a policy of multiple submissions reduces the incentives
that a referee has to do a conscientious job and put in the necessary time to thoroughly review
each paper.” Perhaps for these reasons, combined with tradition, journals expect that submitted
manuscripts, not only have not been published elsewhere, but also that they are not currently un-
der consideration elsewhere.
Philosophical and Ethical Issues
Open Access (OA) journals are journals whose contents are freely available to scholars through
the Internet. One list of Open Access journals is available online at www.doaj.org. In their early
days, these journals were sometimes criticized on quality grounds, using the argument that any-
one can put anything on the Internet. However, Suber (2002) noted:
None of the advantages of traditional scientific journals need be sacrificed to
provide free online access to scientific journal articles. Objections that open ac-
cess to scientific journal literature requires the sacrifice of peer-review, revenue,
copyright protection, or other strengths of traditional journals, are based on mis-
understandings. (p. 3.1)
Suber further reported, “All the major open-access initiatives agree that peer-review is essential to
scientific journals, whether these journals are online or in print, free of charge or ‘priced.’ Open
access removes the barrier of price, not the filter of quality control.” Nonetheless, just last year,
Searing (2006) cautioned authors to “remember that some tenure committees still look down their
noses at upstart electronic-only journals.” Even this quotation, however, demonstrates the pro-
gress that OA journals have made. Note that authors are cautioned against “electronic-only” OA
journals, but not those OA journals that publish in print and also make articles available free of
charge online. Many other authors are more enthusiastic about OA journals. For example, Koo-
hang and Harman (2006) refer specifically to “the rise of academic Open Access e-journals.”
As OA journals have matured, many have developed impact factors and citation rates equal to
similar traditional journals (Koohang & Harman, 2006). Many also have reputations for peer-
review as rigorous as or more rigorous than similar traditional print journals. Further, OA journals
are often lauded as providing more rapid dissemination of knowledge, as well as a free and open
exchange of information among the broadest possible range of researchers and other interested
parties. The alternative to Open Access journals are often journals run by universities or those run
by for-profit publishers, whose own agendas may influence journal acceptance or rejection deci-
sions, as well as the way in which papers are edited before they appear to readers. Rather than
profit-driven publishing companies, groups. such as the Informing Science Institute
(www.informingscience.org), that publish Open Access journals are philosophically committed to
making all publications freely available online as well as in print. Not all Open Access journals
are equally altruistic, however. Some make research available freely, but charge researchers to
publish their materials. At the PLOS Medical Journal, authors pay $1500 USD, unless they can-
not afford it (Dotinga, 2005). “Biomed Central charges authors or their sponsors a fee for dis-
semination” (Suber, 2002). Such charges raise the issue of whether at some journals; the key de-
terminant in an article being published might be the author’s ability to pay and not the considered
opinion of reviewers and editors. Of course, this possibility is no different in the case of print
journals. The journal medium does not determine the rigor of the review or the ethics of the edi-
tors.
Knight & Steinbach
71
Some scholars who believe philosophically in the free and open exchange of information have a
personal policy that any journal to which they submit their manuscript be Open Access. Others
give the advantage to an Open Access journal when all other things are equal, likely because an
OA journal virtually guarantees wide availability and, thus, the potential for far greater impact
than print. Overall, Park and Qin (2007) demonstrated that scholar opinions of Open Access jour-
nals are dependent upon seven factors: perceived journal reputation, perceived topical relevance,
perceived availability, perceived career benefit, perceived cost of publishing in the journal, per-
ceived content quality, and perceived ease of use. Interestingly, they found that the more avail-
able journals tended to have lower perceived content quality, reflecting the trust issue that contin-
ues to plague the Internet. Suber (2002) identified a potential reason for this, noting that since
Open Access journals tend to be newer, they are less likely to be considered prestigious than
journals that have been publishing for longer periods. As noted previously in Table 2, as early as
1987, Brorsen indicated that older journals tend to be more prestigious. Nonetheless, Suber
(2002) noted, “It is only a matter of time before the open access journals have earned prestige
roughly in proportion to their quality (or at least have the same disparity between these two that
characterizes their well-established traditional counterparts).”
Beyond Open Access, a researcher may have other deeply held philosophical beliefs that play a
role in journal selection. Searing (2006), perhaps not coincidentally writing in a library journal,
had this advice for authors: “As you consider which journal to submit your work to, ask yourself:
Has this publisher dealt fairly with librarians? Is it committed to working on issues that matter to
libraries, like long-term access to electronic content? What options will you have to retain intel-
lectual property rights?” Suber (2002) believes copyrights should not be an issue, noting:
…scientists are not profit seekers and their interest lies in dissemination to the widest
possible audience. For this purpose, it doesn’t matter whether scientists retain copyright
of their own articles or transfer the copyright to an open-access journal or repository.
Copyright assures authors that authorized copies will not mangle or misattribute their
work. And the fact that the holder of the copyright consents to free access sharply sepa-
rates this kind of open access from what might be called ‘Napster for science.’ (p. 3.2)
Reorganizing the Categories to
Develop a Graphical Model
Once prior research in all five categories was detailed, it became apparent that the categories
could be reorganized into three major divisions:
Likelihood of timely acceptance
Likelihood of acceptance
Timeline from submission to publication
Potential impact of the article
Journal reputation (credibility & prestige)
Journal visibility
Philosophical and ethical concerns
Open Access
Library issues
Intellectual property / copyright issues
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
72
The first two of these major categories, likelihood of timely acceptance and potential impact of
the article, stand alone, while the third, philosophical and ethical concerns, represents overarching
considerations that encase the entire journal selection process. Thus, the final graphical model is a
two-axis grid, with an outer wrapper of philosophical concerns, as depicted in Figure 2. Each of
the quadrants in this model is named for its primary characteristics.
Predicted Impact of Published Article
High Impact Predicted -
Gamble
Bull’s Eye
Low Impact Predicted -
Sink Hole
Sure Thing
|
Unlikely
|
Likely
Timely Acceptance
Figure 2: Model of Journal Selection Criteria, Part I, Graphical Model
Assessing and Naming the Quadrants
Bull’s Eye (upper right quadrant)
The upper right quadrant in Figure 2 is the most desirable since it represents those manuscripts
that have a high probability of acceptance at a potentially high impact journal. Typically, the tar-
geted journal has previously published articles on the same topic, the submitted paper uses a simi-
lar research methodology, and the disciplinary and audience foci are consistent with the journal’s
mission and editorial statements. The journal is sufficiently ranked by the author’s institution and
/ or external organizations that the author perceives a positive benefit to both promotion and ten-
ure and long-term career development. The journal’s publication process is aligned with the au-
thor’s time requirement.
Gamble (upper left quadrant)
If a manuscript evaluates to the upper left quadrant, it is unlikely to be accepted by a high impact
journal. Typically, the journal most likely has not published articles of similar topic or in the
same discipline, has a bias toward a different form of methodology (quantitative vs. qualitative),
or has a very low acceptance rate in general. The manuscript also may not conform to the pre-
scribed style of prose
Philosophical and Ethical Considerations
Knight & Steinbach
73
Sure Thing (lower right quadrant)
The lower right quadrant represents those manuscripts that are likely to be accepted but have little
or no impact. Typically, the journal is not highly regarded or does not possess even a moderate
ranking by either the author’s institution and / or external organizations. Often the journal appears
to have little benefit to either promotion and tenure or long-term career development. The time
from submission to publication has no impact on the topic’s relevance.
Sink-hole (lower left quadrant)
The author should reevaluate the journal choice for their manuscript if upon analysis the plotted
point falls into the lower left quadrant. In this case, the manuscript is unlikely to be accepted by a
low impact journal. There may be a timeline problem, or the manuscript may be a poor fit for the
journal, but in any case, authors need not waste their time submitting to such journals.
Philosophical and Ethical Considerations
Each author must decide for himself or herself what philosophical or ethical concerns are of sig-
nificance to them. Regardless of whether these include Open Access, intellectual property, copy-
right, library, or other issues, these considerations form an umbrella over the entire decision proc-
ess.
Part II of the Model
While Part I of the model consists of a graphical representation, Part II of the model lists the fac-
tors that authors should consider to determine placement on the graphical grid, as well as the phi-
losophical and ethical concerns represented in its wrapper.
Questions to Assess Likelihood of Timely Acceptance
(horizontal axis)
Topic
Has the journal published articles on the same subject as the manuscript?
If not, has the journal at least published articles on the topics that form the theoretical ba-
sis for this research?
Is the manuscript consistent with the journal’s stated mission and editorial statements
Methodology
Is the manuscript in harmony with the journal’s quantitative or qualitative research bias,
if any?
Has the journal published articles using the manuscript’s methodology before?
If the manuscript reports insignificant results or if it is concerned with methodological is-
sues, has the journal published papers of this same type in the past?
Manuscript
Is the manuscript consistent with the disciplinary focus of the journal? Note that if the
journal is multidisciplinary, then the manuscript likely should be as well.
Is the typical time from submission to publication sufficiently short for the author’s
needs? Consider review lags, revision lags, copyediting lags, and backlogs of manuscripts
awaiting publication in the journal.
How many times is the journal cited in this manuscript?
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
74
Is the manuscript consistent with the national or international focus of the journal? Note
that if the journal is international, then the manuscript likely should be as well.
Is the manuscript’s style of prose consistent with that of the journal?
Is the length of the manuscript appropriate for the journal? Are the tables, figures, and
references consistent with the journal’s past publishing?
Is the manuscript consistent with the journal’s instructions for authors?
Journal
What is the journal’s acceptance rate? If it is low, is the manuscript appropriate for an
announced themed issue where acceptance possibilities might be stronger?
Does the journal regularly publish manuscripts from similarly ranked institutions?
Does the journal regularly publish manuscripts from the same general part of the world?
Miscellaneous
What advice do your colleagues have?
Questions to Assess Predicted Impact of Published Article
(vertical axis)
Journal
Is the journal peer-reviewed?
Are the journal’s editorial staff and reviewers academically respected?
Is the journal ranked or rated by the author’s institution?
Is the journal ranked or rated by a government, a professional association, or a widely
recognized research project?
How often is the journal cited in other journals?
Author
What does the author perceive as the potential career benefit from publishing in this jour-
nal? Consider how important journal ranking is to the author’s university tenure and / or
promotion process, as well as how important the author expects this journal’s ranking to
be to his or her long-range career.
How long from the time an article is submitted until it is published? If this is a consider-
able time, consider whether the data or the topic will have less impact if it is not pub-
lished for a year or two.
Readership / Availability
Is the journal regional, national, or international? Consider the journal’s leadership team,
its editors and reviewers, and its readership.
What are the readership statistics for the journal?
Does the journal reach the audience that the author(s) want to target?
Is the journal read regionally, nationally, or internationally?
Is the journal available through the Internet or widely available via electronic indexes in
university libraries? If not, is the journal available at reasonable cost?
Knight & Steinbach
75
Questions to Assess Philosophical / Ethical Concerns (ellipse)
Philosophical and Ethical Issues
Is the journal available online and freely accessible to all potential readers?
Is the journal available only in print form? For a fee?
If the journal is available only electronically, does the tenure and promotion committee
accept the journal as a legitimate publishing forum?
Is the journal’s publisher a university-sponsored or not-for-profit entity, or a for-profit
organization?
Does the journal charge researchers to publish manuscripts?
Does the author retain copyright of the article?
Is the copyright transferred to the journal?
Does the journal deal fairly with all authors?
Does the journal treat libraries reasonably in terms of its charges?
Are there any other philosophical or ethical issues of concern to the author?
Discussion
Applying the model is a multi-step process. First, a scholar must identify a list of potential jour-
nals to consider. While this process can vary among disciplines, the earlier section of this paper
entitled “Identifying Possibilities” provides researchers with a starting point by describing the
major approaches to making a list of journals to consider. Second, using the model’s list of phi-
losophical and ethical considerations as a base, the scholar should remove journals from the pros-
pect list that do not meet his or her personal standards. Third, for each journal remaining on the
list, the author should carefully consider the model’s critical questions with respect to timely ac-
ceptance and identify a most likely range on the horizontal axis. The author should also consider
the model’s critical questions with respect to the published article’s likely impact and use that to
identify a most likely range on the vertical axis. This identifies a most likely area on the grid for
each prospective journal, as shown in Figure 3. At this point, the journals can be visually com-
pared. Clearly inferior choices can be eliminated and remaining choices analyzed and compared.
For example, in Figure 3, Journal 4 is clearly inferior to Journal 3, and can be eliminated without
further consideration. How to handle the remaining three journals requires deeper consideration.
When compared to Journal 3, Journal 2 offers a substantially higher likelihood of timely accep-
tance, with only slightly lower predicted impact. Similarly, when compared to Journal 1, Journal
2 offers significantly higher impact compared to relatively little loss in likelihood of timely ac-
ceptance. Thus, Journal 2 appears to be the superior choice in this example. When choices are
close, the author should validate decisions by reviewing the considerations for each axis, as well
as his or her own philosophical biases. The model does not spurt out the best journal choice with
a mathematical certainty. Rather, the factor list portion of the model provides a comprehensive
list of questions for consideration, while the graphical portion of the model provides a visual way
to evaluate and compare these considerations.
The model does, of course, have its limitations. Perhaps foremost of these is the fact that re-
searchers often lack the knowledge necessary to precisely answer each question proposed by the
model. For some questions, the mere asking of the question may lead a researcher to dig further
to discover the data needed. However, in some cases, particularly when evaluating such concepts
as the anticipated number of review cycles or a journal’s Review Cycle Time Delay, the best an-
swers may be relative comparisons with other journals, rather than absolute figures, and even
these can, at times, be difficult.
Selecting an Appropriate Publication Outlet
76
Predicted Impact of Published Article
High Impact Predicted -
Gamble
Bull’s Eye
Low Impact Predicted -
Sink Hole
Sure Thing
|
Unlikely
|
Likely
Timely Acceptance
Figure 3: Model Part I, Example showing four possible journals
The ultimate test of any model lies with its application. We believe that this model will be of
greatest usefulness in three situations. For new researchers regardless of discipline, the model
provides the first single comprehensive list of the multitude of considerations that go into journal
selection. In addition, the graphical portion of the model provides these new researchers with in-
sight into how any journal selection decision must balance three major concerns (likelihood of
timely acceptance, potential article impact, and philosophical and ethical considerations). While
more experienced researchers may already be accustomed to thinking in these terms, they none-
theless can benefit from having a single comprehensive list of decision criteria readily available.
Further, experienced researchers considering publishing outside of their home discipline may find
the list particularly useful in helping them weed quickly through a plethora of alternative journals.
Conclusion
The goal of this research was to develop a comprehensive model to guide authors when selecting
a journal to which to submit their work. Using the literature from a wide variety of disciplines, we
have developed the first comprehensive list of journal selection considerations, and we have ana-
lyzed and organized these 39 considerations into three major categories: likelihood of timely ac-
ceptance, potential article impact, and philosophical and ethical considerations. Further, we have
developed a graphical representation that both assists authors in comparing their journal alterna-
tives and provides new researchers with insights into how the three primary journal selection
categories are weighed and balanced. On a broader level, we have established that scholars across
disciplines have common considerations with respect to journal publishing, and we have demon-
strated that there is value in researching the process of how we, as academics, inform one another.
Through the process of this research, we became familiar with the literature concerning journal
publication in a broad scope of disciplines. While initially we expected to find distinctions among
the various disciplines, ultimately we were struck, not by differences, but by commonalities. We
found that differences, when they exist, tend to exist among the journals within a discipline, not
between disciplines. Thus, we conclude that the ties that unite academics seeking to publish are
strong, and the potential for future cross-disciplinary research in the area of how we as academics
Philosophical and Ethical Considerations
J1
J4
J3 J2
Knight & Steinbach
77
inform one another is correspondingly robust. We intend to follow-up this research with an article
on the journal review process. More importantly, we hope that this article has inspired other
scholars to consider researching further the process of how we, as academics, inform one another.
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Knight & Steinbach
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Biography
Linda V. Knight, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor, and Director of
DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM)
Center for the Strategic Application of Emerging Technologies
(SAET), a research group that explores leveraging new and emerging
technology within organizations. She teaches and conducts research in
the area of Information Technology strategy, development, and imple-
mentation. In 2006, she was honored to be named a Fellow of the In-
forming Science Institute. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of IT Educa-
tion, she is also Associate Editor of the Information Resources Man-
agement Journal, as well as Past President and Fellow of the Society
for the Advancement of Information Systems. She serves on MBAA International's Executive
Board, this year as President. An entrepreneur and IT consultant, she has held industry positions
in IT management and quality assurance management. In addition to a Ph.D. in computer science
from DePaul University, she holds a B.A. in mathematics and an MBA, both from Dominican
University.
Theresa A. Steinbach, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at DePaul
University’s College of Computing and Digital Media in the School of
Computing. Her primary research interests are system development
methodology, project management, IT ethics and IT education. She
serves on the editorial board of Informing Science: the International
Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline. Prior to teaching full-time,
Terry owned her own consulting firm that specialized in maximizing
technology for business growth and profits. Her client base included
representatives from the banking and nursing home industries,
accounting firms, mortgage bankers, park districts and other municipal
entities, and small and mid-size retail businesses. In addition to a Ph.D. in Computer Science, she
holds a M.S. in Information Systems, an MBA in Quantitative Economics and a B.A. in
Mathematics.
... Choosing the wrong journal may lead to fast rejection, delayed publication, and waste of time/resources (7,8). Targeting the best journal has no clear-cut criteria or a prac-tical model; it is a complex issue, compounded by the increasing numbers of journals and the emerging changes in the publishing landscape (8,9). ...
... Regulations of research funding agencies influences the author's evaluation as a faculty member (9,10). Publishing in prestigious journals has its rewards, including successful grant application opportunities and invitations from other journals to publish more (11). ...
... The words "quality" and "prestige" are not defined clearly and accurately (9,13); as discussed by Suber (13), if quality is considered as real excellence, then prestige is reputed excellence. The "objective" quality indicators are often used as basis for the "subjective" rating of journal's prestige (9,13). ...
Article
Full-text available
: Publishing in peer-reviewed high-quality journals is a gold standard method for disseminating scientific work. Choosing the right journal is one of the most important and difficult aspects of publishing research results. Submitting to an inappropriate journal is one of the most common reasons for fast rejection of manuscripts, resulting in time wasted by the authors and journals’ editors. Here, we discuss important factors that should be considered for choosing the right journal to get your work published successfully and effectively. The most important factors for journal targeting are: (1) The journal’s characteristics, that is its scientific prestige, performance, publishing model, acceptance possibility, and specialty; (2) the manuscript’s characteristics, including its relevance to the journal’s aim and scope, its intrinsic value, meaning the novelty of the research, soundness of the methodology, potential impact in the field, and its implication; and (3) authors’ priorities and limitations.
... While several studies have looked at what criteria researchers in a variety of disciplines use when selecting a journal, none has focused on the criteria used by early-career researchers in a highly interdisciplinary disciplinemedical sciencesfrom a developing countrythe Islamic Republic of Iran. For instance, the most widely cited papers on journal selection behavior all focus on American or Northern European researchers journal selection behavior (Bjork and Holmstrom, 2006;Brochner and Bjork, 2008;Cheung, 2008;Dalton, 2013;Frank, 1994;Knight and Steinbach, 2008;Moksness and Olsen, 2017). The reasons that a researcher in a highly developed country selects a certain journal may vary significantly from the reasons of a research in a developing nation like Iran. ...
... From a library and information science perspective, for example, a paper on archival technology may be most relevant to an archival studies journal but would likely have the broadest reach in a general LIS journal like Information Technology and Libraries. Knight and Steinbach (2008) performed a systematic review of past studies of journal selection behavior, the findings from which were used by the researchers to develop a model of journal selection. This model is largely predicated on the interplay of two sets of variables: those related to the time from initial submission to acceptance and those related to the projected impact of the article based on the publication venue. ...
Article
Purpose Journals are the essential tools of researchers, especially academicians, to present their scientific findings. So, choosing the right journal helps not only science development but also their academic promotion. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that Iranian medical researchers consider when selecting scholarly journals in which to submit their work. Design/methodology/approach A self-administered online questionnaire was emailed in May 2021, with 101 responses received. The sample included all the faculty members with the role of “lecturer” in Iranian medical universities and who have 1–5 articles in the Scopus database as early-career Iranian medical researchers. The questionnaire consisted of 36 items, divided into five sections: basic information, attitudes and beliefs, ways to choose a journal, problems and familiarity with the components of scientometrics/validity metrics related to journals. Findings The findings indicate that these researchers value the expertise of experienced researchers and professionals, like librarians, when selecting publication venues. They often use journal indexes to guide journal selection. They also consider factors like the length of typical peer review and the complexity of submission guidelines when making decisions. Research limitations/implications The study of one country, though detecting requirements of journal selection behavior, cannot be generalized to the entire region. Practical implications The current study has academic implications as far as decisions on journal selection are concerned. University policymakers in Iran may consider re-examining their emphasis on academicians’ promotion policies at Iranian universities of medical sciences. Originality/value These findings may support the work of early-career researchers and those individuals (e.g., librarians) that serve them, as well as publishers and editors of scholarly journals.
... Settling on a target journal for a completed scientific manuscript can be a non-scientific process. Some critical elements of the decision are intangible, e.g., attempting to reach a certain target audience or how well the paper "fits" within the scope of the journal [1][2][3]. Others, such as turnaround time, acceptance rate, and journal impact, can be measured but (other than impact) these metrics are often challenging to locate, leading authors to make decisions without full information [3,4]. ...
... Enlightened readers may elect to change their submission habits in favor of certain journals that are more expeditious or that otherwise meet their priorities for a given paper. Authors without a preconceived notion of a specific target journal should still consider the paper's "fit" to be the most important factor in their decision [1]. I suggest that after assembling a shortlist based on fit, authors should use the results of this paper to select a journal that best aligns with their priorities. ...
Article
Full-text available
Selecting a target journal is a universal decision faced by authors of scientific papers. Components of the decision, including expected turnaround time, journal acceptance rate, and journal impact factor, vary in terms of accessibility. In this study, I collated recent turnaround times and impact factors for 82 journals that publish papers in the field of fisheries sciences. In addition, I gathered acceptance rates for the same journals when possible. Findings indicated clear among-journal differences in turnaround time, with median times-to-publication ranging from 79 to 323 days. There was no clear correlation between turnaround time and acceptance rate nor between turnaround time and impact factor; however, acceptance rate and impact factor were negatively correlated. I found no field-wide differences in turnaround time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, though some individual journals took significantly longer or significantly shorter to publish during the pandemic. Depending on their priorities, authors choosing a target journal should use the results of this study as guidance toward a more informed decision.
... It takes time to learn and produce successful writing in academic journals. Therefore, students should locate good journals interested in accepting the themes and methods (Knight & Steinbach, 2008). Over the years, there has been a proliferation of academic publishers, with over 28,000 active scientific journals as of 2014 (Ware & Mabe, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Aim The present survey aims to understand the preferences developed by doctoral scholars to the ideas on research and publication after undergoing training on a course titled "Research Publication." Background UGC recommended a mandatory training course on research publication and ethics for Ph.D. scholars to improve the quality of research undertaken and their knowledge base on research publication. The course would expose scholars to the concepts of research integrity, publication ethics, techniques to identify predatory journals, and research misconduct. Design/Method A survey research design was utilized to understand the kind of preferences doctoral scholars develop on concepts of indexing and publication (indexing parameters, open access publications, ways to identify predatory journals, the peer review process of journals, publication companies, sharing of data sets with journals, and reasons for rejections of manuscripts) by journals after exposure to course paper on research publication. The syllabus of research publication and ethics prescribed by UGC, the curriculum of the research publication course of Christ University, and previous research articles formed the basis for the formulation of questions. The researcher acquired demographic information and information on publication history from the participants. A total of 35 doctoral scholars from various disciplines and both genders responded to the survey questions. Scholars who had completed at least a year in the university were excluded from participation. Scholars undergoing training in research publication course paper for the past four months were invited to participate. Findings The survey included a substantial proportion of female scholars of the age group range 20-30, and most of the scholars had completed their Master's degree before enrolling in the Ph.D. course. The survey results revealed that scholars had considerable knowledge of reasons for rejection of manuscripts, the peer review process, methods to identify predatory journals, open-access publication, indexing agencies, indexing parameters, and publication agencies. Limitations The study comprised a limited sample of Ph.D. scholars only from one university. Moreover, the majority of the scholars had limited or no experience in publishing documents in Journals. Implications The survey helps doctoral scholars to understand the concepts of indexing and publication. It also enables them to apply this knowledge and reevaluate the indexing parameters, indexing, method of peer review, and other criteria before deciding to submit manuscripts to journals. Future Research Researchers can acquire views of scholars from various universities across India where the "research publication" course has been introduced. By gathering information from a substantial proportion of male scholars and comparing it with female scholars, researchers can explore scholars' gender differences in preferences. The choices of scholars who have experience in publishing can be compared with that of scholars who had limited publishing experience to understand any underlying similarities and differences.
... This is because it is mainly aimed toward the environmental aspects pertaining to the adoption of GTs, which prove to be the best fit with the "aim and scope" of the Journal of Cleaner Production. This is primarily because being "fit" is the core factor to be considered, while selecting a journal (Knight and Steinbach 2008). ...
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This study presents a comprehensive literature review and gives an insight into the increasing research trends that are based on the discipline of green technology (GTs) in the manufacturing industry. Prior research in this field indicates that there is a scarcity of research on the topic. Therefore, this study seeks to draft a multi-perspective literature review that is based on GTs in the manufacturing industry. Moreover, to make this analysis more detailed, the science-mapping technique and the quantitative approach were also applied on 5734 bibliographic references that were extracted from the web of science. Ultimately, the focus of the research is to understand the tendencies and trends in journals, institutions, and the main areas of research, along with the integration style of these elements in the previous literature that has been written on the subject of GTs. This technique also helps to fill in the research gap, address the limitations of existing literature, and shed light on the various possible directions this could lead to for future research. The implications of this research offer wide directives for editors, researchers, research institutions, policymakers, and practitioners.
... The rooted selectivity of healthcare professionals (maybe stronger than in other disciplines) to publish in prestigious subscription journals with high credibility and scientific validity (Part D -Q1) combined with their views that the total number of publications/citations and the researcher's h-index (Part C -Q1, Q2 and Q3) are the most decisive factors for the evaluation of their work [48], [49], [50] partially justifies their positive attitude towards hybrid journals. As Sotubdeh et al. [43], indicates, the selectivity of the authors in choosing the author-pays outlet to publish their high-quality papers, signifies the overall prestige of the OA papers published in the model. ...
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Net-zero emissions buildings (NZEBs) are essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change. Several studies have been conducted on NZEBs. However, a thorough exploration of the literature is lacking. This study aims to systematically and comprehensively explore the state-of-the-art in NZEBs research, and to provide recommendations about research gaps and future research directions. Adopting mixed-methods, first, a quantitative bibliometric analysis was conducted on 2724 articles retrieved from Scopus. Results indicated that the year 2006 marked the beginning of the current steady and gradual increase in NZEBs research. Main research themes include energy efficiency, zero energy building, life cycle assessment, embodied energy, building simulation, and residential buildings. Influential jurisdictions and outlets were identified. Second, a further qualitative systematic analysis was performed of 528 carefully selected articles, to identify gaps in the existing knowledge. Based on identified gaps, this study suggested future research directions, including (1) strategies for existing buildings retrofit, (2) exploration of zero-emissions buildings on a neighborhood scale, (3) innovative business models for delivering NZEBs, and (4) stakeholder partnership and synergies in promoting NZEBs. The findings of this study provide an understanding of the state-of-the-art development and future needs of NZEBs research, equipping researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to hone and promote the research towards achieving the global net-zero target by 2050.
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Selecting the appropriate academic journal is a priority issue for researchers in the process of publishing a manuscript. If researchers could quantify the research topic in terms of its fit with the journal requirements before the submission of a paper, then the assessment of journal suitability could be much easier. Basing any decision on journal impact factors alone might obviously result in a mismatch, eventual rejection and a consequent loss of time. Taking the twelve leading Tourism and Hospitality journals as a reference, the main research topics mentioned in the abstracts of 20,381 articles are identified, using the Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm and other text-mining techniques running the R programming language. Subsequently, a quantitative measure of the fit of the research topics in each journal is offered according to their frequency of occurrence. The results suggested that the importance of the topic-journal fit with respect to the impact factor depended on the variance of the fits among the journals. Finally, a guide of the most suitable journals for the topics is presented, based on the JCR impact factor and the fit of the topic. Some recommendations are likewise offered on the use of this methodology and its limitations.
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