Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Propositioning journals

I’m a great fan of the pre-submission inquiry. The way this usually works is I write an email to the editor of a journal saying, “Here’s this great idea for a paper, and I’d like to know whether I should write this up for your fine journal.” Usually within a few days the editor writes back and says yes or no. Some journals require this, but I’ve started doing it even for some that don’t. It is useful for everyone involved. The editor gets to spend a couple of minutes reviewing my email and telling me that my paper doesn’t fit that journal, or inviting me to submit, rather than dealing with a full submission. I get to not waste time preparing a submission to a journal that is entirely uninterested in my topic, or I get the encouragement to submit to a journal that I have been told is likely to be receptive. Writing the email also forces me to think about what I want to say, and at what length, which aids my thought process. Finally, while rewriting and reformatting a paper to send to another journal takes some days, redoing the pre-submission inquiry takes only minutes. This is very useful for an interdisciplinary researcher like me who often has to hunt around for an appropriate journal for each paper.

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