Where and how to submit the manuscript

- Bernard DeVoto
The choices of where and how to submit the
manuscript are important.
Some manuscripts are buried in inappropriate
The first problem is where to submit the
Obviously, your choice depends on the nature
of your work; you must identify those
journals that publish in your subject area.
A good way to get started or to refresh your
memory is to scan a recent issue of Current
You can determine which journals are
publishing papers in your field.
To identify which journals might publish your
manuscript, you should do several things:
Read the masthead statement (a statement,
usually on the “title page” at the front of the
issue, giving the name of journal, the publisher,
and a brief statement of purpose)in current issue
of each journal you are considering;
read the “scope” paragraphs that are usually
provided in the instructions to Authors; and look
carefully at the table of contents of a current
 If you submit your manuscript to a wrong journal, one
of three things can happen, all bad.
Your manuscript may simply be returned to you, with the
comment that your work “is not suitable for this journal”
2. If the journal is borderline in relation to your work, your
manuscript may receive poor or unfair review, because
the reviewers (and editors) of that journal may be only
vaguely familiar with your specialty area.
3. Even if your paper is accepted and published, your glee
will be short-lived if you later find that your work is
virtually unknown because it is buried in a publication
that your peers do not read.
A paper published in a “garbage” journal
simply does not equal a paper published in a
prestigious journal.
The wise old bird (and) there are quite a few
around in science) may be more impressed by
the candidate with one or two solid
publications in prestigious journal than by the
candidate with 10 or more publications in
second-rate journals.
Journal A, B, C, you should probably limit
your choices to those three journals.
Journal D, E, F, contain only the lightweight
So each could be eliminated as your first
choice, even though the scope is right.
By publication in such a journal, your paper
may have its best chance to make an impact
on the community of scholars at whom you
are aiming.
Be wary of new journals, especially those not
sponsored by a society.
The circulation may be minuscule, and the
journal might fail before it, and your paper,
become known to the scientific world.
The U.S. Postal Service requires that each
publisher granted second-class mailing privileges
(and almost all scientific journals qualify) file and
publish an annual statement.
This statement must include basic circulation
Journal citation Reports
 An annual volume supplementing the Science citation
- Journals are cited most frequently, both
- Gross quantitative terms and
- In term of average citations per article published (“impact factor”)
The impact factor especially seems to be a
reasonable basis for judging the quality of
(http://admin-apps.isiknowledge.com/JCR/JCR?PointOfEntry=Home&SID=U2GAkCbcJkGL7mgKJ4h )
The publication lag of a monthly journal is
almost always shorter than that of a quarterly
If the journal publishes “ received for
publication” dates, you can figure out for
yourself what the average lag time is.
What audience are you trying to reach?
EX: you are reporting a fundamental study in
biochemistry, you should of course try to get
your paper published in a prestigious
international journal.
After you have decided where to
submit your manuscript , don’t neglect
the nitty-gritty of sending it in.
Many manuscripts are lost , badly
delayed, or damaged in the mail, often
because of improper packaging.
Giant paperclips are preferable.
(I have known of several dummies who mailed out the only
existing copies of their manuscript, and there was an
unforgettable forever lost.)
Use a special floppy disk mailer, or secure the
disk between oversize pieces of cardboard.
Insert the manuscript and disks into a strong
manila envelope or even a reinforced mailing
The maximum size should be 8 ½ by 11
It’s worth noting that you should always send
a cover letter with the manuscript.
Manuscripts without cover letters pose
immediate problems:
If there are several authors, which one should
be considered the submitting author, at
which address?
A manuscript perhaps misdirected by a
reviewer or an editor?
The contributing author should also include
his or her telephone number, email, fax
number in the cover letter or on the title page
of the manuscript.
Most journals send out an “acknowledgment
of receipt” form letter when the manuscript is
If you know that the journal doesn’t, attach a
self-addressed postcard to the manuscript, so
that the editor can acknowledge receipt.
Most journal editors, at least the good ones,
try to reach a decision within 4 to 6 weeks or,
if there is to be further delay for some reason,
provide some explanation to the author.

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