Monday, September 15, 2014

An efficient publication strategy

Previously I posted about my paper submission strategy.
A recent experience highlighted to me the folly of the high stakes game of going down the status chain of descending impact factors:
Nature -> Science -> Nature X, PNAS -> PRL, JACS -> PRB, JCP.

Two significant problems with this game are:
1. A lot of time and energy is wasted in strategising, rewriting, reformatting, and resubmitting at each stage of the process. Furthermore, if there are multiple senior authors each stage can be particularly slow.
2. Given the low success rates the paper often ends up in PRB or a comparable journal (J. Chem. Phys., J. Phys. Chem.) anyway!

I have followed this route and it has been a whole year between submission and publication.

In contrast, on 28 July I submitted a paper as a regular article to J. Chem. Phys. and it appeared online on 10 September!
Six weeks!
I have also had papers published in PRA and PRB much faster than in PRL.

Why is speedy publication valuable?
  • The sooner it is published, the sooner that some people, particularly chemists, will take it seriously.
  • The time and mental energy that is saved can be spent instead  doing more research and writing more papers.
  • A few months can be the difference so you can list the paper as published on the next job application, grant report, or grant application.
  • The sooner it is published the sooner it will start getting cited. 
Furthermore, in the long run, the value of the science carries the day. If the research is valuable and significant it will have a real impact, regardless of where it is published. Papers make the impact not the journals. If I look at my own publication list [particularly on the 5+ years time scale] there is not a lot of correlation between journal impact factor, real scientific impact [the most desirable citations] and total citation numbers.

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