Help me publish a medical article in a law journal.
March 10, 2011 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I have written a medical research paper and want to submit it to a law or criminal justice journal for publication. Is this possible? If so, where do I start?

I’m a medical researcher. I have written a modest literature review and I’m ready to submit the manuscript to a journal for publication. It’s on a topic that could be of interest to readers across health care, social services, and criminal justice/law fields: a specific patient population that often runs afoul of the law due to their condition. My goal for this paper is for it to contribute to a growing push for implementation of comprehensive social/health/justice programmes that can address the medical needs of these patients—and likely therefore reduce the risks of their (re-)offending.

The issue is that I’m certainly not the first to publish a review on this topic in health/social journals—it’s reasonably well-documented and a recognised dilemma in need of solutions at the policy level. So I suspect that by submitting my paper to a journal with a health care or social-reform focus, I’d just be preaching to the converted and it wouldn’t make any difference. But I’m pretty sure that this information isn’t widely known in the field where the most effective reform could likely be made: criminal justice and law. I want to try to publish my paper in a law journal or criminal justice journal in order to get it read by the people who are in a position to do something about this problem.

But I’m a scientist and know nothing about publishing in law/CJ journals and I’m trying to not waste my time. Do any such journals ever even publish non-law papers? Can you name any journals that might consider my paper? (Bonus points for an Australia – New Zealand audience.) Are there any insider tips I should know that would limit the chances of me being dismissed out of hand with my little medical review?
posted by oceanmorning to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
I would look for Medicine/Law crossover journals. Look over some of the articles in those journals and see if those would be a good fit.
posted by demiurge at 3:29 PM on March 10, 2011

Look for examples of other articles that discuss this kind, citing examples wold inform your literature review and give a clue as to what journals are willing to look at this kind of article.
posted by biffa at 3:42 PM on March 10, 2011

Sometimes when I'm exploring a new field, I tabulate what journals in that other field I had in my lit review.
posted by k8t at 3:48 PM on March 10, 2011

If you're interesting in targeting an Australian/New Zealand audience, a good first step would be to check out the ERA journal rankings in criminology and law. I'm not sure of any off the top of my head which look at the intersection of medicine and law (particularly in an Aust/NZ context), but if it's more mental health related, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law might be a bet.

As a rule, criminology is pretty multidisciplinary, and a paper with a medical focus that was relevant to a criminal justice audience certainly has a good chance of being published. Remember that it will be reviewed by people with more of a criminal justice background than a medical background, so make sure it's written with the audience and reviewers in mind.

If you're really interested in an Aust/NZ audience, I'd certainly try for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. It has a diverse readership and is pretty broad is scope. It used to be highly theoretical in focus, but has changed editors a few times recently is now pretty eclectic (disclaimer: I have done the odd peer review for the ANZJoC).

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that with the ready availability of pretty comprehensive and cross-disciplinary databases, criminal justice researchers/workers have pretty good access to medical and physical science journals. Not that most will read them often, but they're there if they want to. So you need to frame the paper in such a way that it's useful/interesting to this audience. I'm sure you're aware of that, but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway.

By all means, give it a crack though.
posted by damonism at 4:21 PM on March 10, 2011

Start by looking at the Social Science Research Network, in particular the law section. There is definitely an interested audience for this sort of work; I was looking at a few such papers the other day, and depending on exactly what it is there may be specific go-to people, who could either give you guidance or might be open to doing a joint submission.

The University of California at Irvine has a journal which has published several papers lately from the intersection between social/criminal justice and medical issues. I have no direct connections with any law school or journal, nor am I a lawyer or academic, but I do read a lot of law review articles and what you describe seems to overlap with things I am interested in. If you get lost/overwhelmed you can memail me and I'll find some similar material for comparison.

I only know the US environment, don't keep up with any journals from down under. But I know many US journals have an international readership, and I've seen articles in both international law covering medical human rights issues and medical law journals which draw international policy comparisons.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:29 PM on March 10, 2011

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