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J Adv Nurs. 2002 Mar;37(6):506-11.

Getting your paper to the right journal: a case study of an academic paper.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, Dugald Baird Centre for Reseach on Women's Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK. van.teijlingen@abdn.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The scientific community views the publication of academic papers as a means of disseminating information, ensuring transparency and good practice in terms of research utilization. However, the choice of journal in which to publish is frequently influenced by other, less obvious, factors. This paper describes the lengthy route taken to get a methodological paper about pilot studies into print.

AIM AND METHOD:

This paper shares some of our experiences and discusses the lessons that we learned about the process of getting into print. A case study approach is adopted to help the reader understand the different influences on this process.

FINDINGS:

Our methodological paper was submitted to six different academic journals before it was finally accepted for publication. The choice of journal was influenced by the need to reach an appropriate academic audience, the estimated turn around time (the time taken between submission of a paper and its subsequent publication) and the level of academic credibility of the journal (often assessed by the journal's Impact Factor). Publishing in 'high impact' academic journals assumed considerable importance for us in view of the UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). However, the consequence of going down the journal status hierarchy was that we lost about 1 year through submitting, rewriting according to each of the journal's specific requirements and resubmitting. The case study also demonstrates that getting into print often depends on a range of factors, not just the quality of the written text.

CONCLUSIONS:

Getting a paper published may depend not only on the intrinsic quality of the paper, but also whether it is submitted to the 'right' academic journal. Moreover, if journals do not take certain papers (e.g. ones with negative findings or those reporting multi-disciplinary studies) then this can lead to publication bias.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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