Edited by Timothy Clark, Mike Wright and David J. Ketchen Jr.
Chapter 20: Hitting your preferred target: positioning papers for different types of journals
Our role as academic scholars is to generate (and disseminate) new knowledge. Knowledge is considered new if it is published in an academic outlet. And as a rule of thumb, the more prestigious the outlet, the more acclaimed is the scholar and contribution. Publish or perish is thus a cliché based on the true nature of academic work and careers (Baruch and Hall, 2004), and scholars aim to publish their work in the best possible outlet. When scholars write papers, they need to decide on their target outlets. Two questions then arise: which journal to target, and how to maximize the prospects of publication in the chosen journal. In this chapter, I analyse this decision process, setting out a series of considerations to provide guidance to minimize costs (emotional, time and energy – clear outcomes of a misjudgement). The need for such a contribution is growing due to a significant acceleration in the number of academic scholars and their output (supply), and the limited set of quality journals (demand) (Edwards and Smith, 2010). There are very few so-called ‘top journals’, and there is a constant pressure to publish in them as a key factor for academic employability (during early career) and promotability (at a later stage). What do academic scholars look for? Publications, and in particular, publications with impact. The expected impact would usually vary across types of writing.
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