Don't Crash Your Porsche!
In the last chapter, I have given you a pretty comprehensive list to begin your journal search. Should you target a top-tier journal for your first article submission? Well, unless you are 100% confident about your research and writing capability, aiming too high can be devastating. Some top journals are too popular that they receive hundreds of manuscript submissions a day. Your manuscript may either get rejected soon after your submission or get buried in the pile, meaning it can take up to a year or two before you hear anything from the journal editor. In some extreme cases, sending in a poorly written journal article may damage your reputation. You do not want the editors to chat among themselves and say something like, "Have you seen this crap from Dr. X?"
To give you an analogy, if you just got your driver's license recently, it may not be a good idea to choose a Porsche or a Ferrari as your first car because you are an inexperienced driver. Do you still remember how you got minor scratches on your first car while practising your driving and parking skills? The same can be said for journal writing and submission: most people make mistakes in their academic writing journey, so do not use your dream journal for practice.
The question about which journal to choose for your first manuscript submission is not that difficult to answer if you are willing to do a bit of homework. I can think of seven aspects that may influence your journal selection decision. They are:
1. School's Suggested List for Publication
2. Publication Frequency
3. Editor's Background
4. Author's Background
5. Article Type
6. Impact Factor
7. Readership Profile
I will discuss each of these criteria further in the next few pages.
School's Suggested List for Publication
The first step is to check with your dean or department head if the school has any list of suggested journal publications. This is because some schools can receive additional government funding and/or better national ranking if their faculty members have publications in certain journals. Hence, having an article published in one of the suggested journals may earn you merit points for promotion consideration. As such, it is vital for you to discuss your publishing plan with your supervisor and explore if such suggested publication list exists in your university.
Not all marketing journals are published on a monthly basis. Take a look at the following examples to see the variation in publication frequency.
- Journal of Retail Marketing Management: 2 issues per year
- Journal of Interactive Marketing: 4 issues per year
- Journal of Marketing: 6 issues per year
- Journal of Brand Management: 9 issues per year
- Service Industries Journal: 14 issues per year
In general, each issue will publish 4 to 10 original research articles. With this understanding, you can roughly calculate the number of articles that will be published. Assuming you have identified 5 or 6 journals that you want to target and all of those in your list have similar impact factor (academic importance), then selecting one that publishes more frequently may increase your chances of getting published.
The editor-in-chief plays a key role in the journal's success. He or she is the gatekeeper and probably does all of the preliminary screening for all incoming manuscripts. Without the editor's blessing, your manuscript will not get moved up to the next evaluation stage by the reviewers. Therefore, it is important for you to find out who this editor is and figure out his or her evaluation criteria. For example, some editors only choose to publish papers that make use of traditional research methods that are sound and proven. Hence, if your paper uses some of the emerging statistical techniques, such as Partial Least Squares path modeling, it may get rejected easily because it does not use the traditional AMOS or LISREL method that the editor is familiar with.
If the same person has been serving as editor-in-chief for years, there is a high probability that this person is the founder of the journal; hence, you will not see any major change in the journal style and evaluation process in the near future. On the other hand, there are also journals that select a new editor-in-chief from its editorial board every few years. Therefore, comments from your colleagues such as "Journal X does not like to publish descriptive papers." may not be applicable anymore because the journal is now in the hands of a new editor-in-chief.