Because my paper just isn't good enough for journal A
June 18, 2014 7:04 PM   Subscribe

How will I find journal B????

Dear Metafilter,

I am a graduate student and I've written a paper. It's not that great, but I'm okay with it. (Honestly, it's decent original data but a bit of a hodgepodge of ideas/starts from people who moved on or were too busy. I just finished collecting data for a second paper I plan to be much more proud of).

So this paper isn't good enough to get into my original target journal, biotechnology and bioengineering. Buuut how do I find a very similar journal, just with -1.5 impact factor?

I tried the journals my references published in: None were appropriate
I tried journals my group recently published in: Again, fail.

Any suggestions? The paper is currently tailored to an engineering audience but I guess I could retailor it (again).

Thanks MeFi!
posted by Kalmya to Education (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you actually submitted to journal A? Because the reviews will often help you refine and improve the paper, even if it is rejected. As for how to find journal B, I would speak to whoever your advisor is -- whether that person is on the paper or not, they would be your best guide.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

How do you know that your paper isn't truly good enough? Submit it -- you just might be surprised. If it doesn't make it in, you should get some good (hopefully) reviewer feedback that would make it a slam dunk for your #2 target journal. The reviewers/editors might even be able to suggest where to resubmit it to.
posted by un petit cadeau at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2014

Update: My adviser says it's not good enough for Journal A (I agree - pretty much everyone just wants to get this paper DONE) but his tips for finding a journal did not actually help. My research area doesn't blend perfectly with his knowledge base - the other professor who helps fill in this gap only publishes in microbiology. He slums it in applied microbiology.
posted by Kalmya at 7:22 PM on June 18, 2014

Maybe you could try something like this: find a half dozen or so not-too-new, well-cited articles in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, ideally somewhat similar in subject matter or method to your paper. Pull them up in google scholar and click the "cited by..." links to see what journals contain articles that cite articles in B&B.

(If you get stuck and nothing seems appropriate, send it to something inappropriate with a fast turnaround time, to get their suggestions.)
posted by spbmp at 7:31 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

PLoS ONE is always a good standby. Granted, it isn't as focused as well, anything, but that's really becoming less and less important as alerts and rss feeds take over from tables of content.
posted by lakhim at 7:42 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

This website called the Journal Article Name Estimator (JANE) will spit out names of recommended journals and impact factors when you input your paper's abstract. Some of the results will not be useful but I've used this before and found it helpful.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:43 PM on June 18, 2014 [8 favorites]

You're in graduate school learning how to research so you ... research. Use google and look up keywords to find journals. Use journal databases like Web of Science and lists like the Impact Factor List. Read widely about your topic (including following citations) and look at the journal names. Read many journal 'scope' and 'for the author' pages. Cast a critical eye over other articles to see which ones match yours in various ways. Just get out there and look. Honestly this shouldn't be that difficult since knowing what in the literature is part of your job as a graduate student anyway.

These days sending it somewhere inappropriate or too high will generally get you a form editor rejection letter and no review, so it's often not worth the effort of submitting there.
posted by shelleycat at 11:32 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

You wrote I tried journals my group recently published in: Again, fail. Does "fail" mean that you thought they were inappropriate, or that they rejected your paper?

I used to reject papers all the time that were otherwise good or potentially good, but not right for the the publication I was editing. I would sometimes suggest where they should send it next. Likewise, I received some papers that were referred to us by other journals.

Just pick the one you think is closest and submit. If they reject as not appropriate, they might have the best idea where would be a good home for it and tell you.
posted by Gotanda at 11:45 PM on June 18, 2014

Check to see if your university's library subscribes to Journal Citation Reports (part of the Web of Knowledge). If it does, then you should be able to do some searching around in there which should be much more efficient than looking at the citations for specific articles. For example, you can search for the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering and at the bottom you will get a link to a list of journals that have cited content from Biotechnology and Bioengineering with their corresponding impact factors. There may be better ways to search this resource, and you can always ask a librarian if you are having problems navigating it, but that alone seems like it might be very helpful to you.
posted by pie_seven at 5:11 AM on June 19, 2014

Piggybacking on what pie_seven said, go into Journal Citation Reports, if you have access, and do this:

Journal Citation Reports-->View by Subject Category-->Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology (or whatever category you feel is appropriate) with View Journal Data/Sort by Impact Factor selected. This will give you a list of everything in that category of journal, sorted by impact factor. Find your Journal A in the list, and then look a few spots down from there to find your Journal B. Good luck!
posted by zoetrope at 7:03 AM on June 19, 2014

Couldn't you consider refocusing and revising the paper? Would that be possible without committing to further research? (Or did I miss something?)
posted by fivesavagepalms at 8:55 AM on June 19, 2014

Nthing that the JCR will give you a lot of ideas (and to also think about "fit" more than necessarily fixating on a particular IF range, since IF is not only an imperfect measurement but also a noisy one; I've noticed journals vary over a range of say, 6.5-10 before, so a difference of 1 point may or may not tell you anything particularly reliably).

That said, my first thought was to check out BMC Biotechnology, IF ~2.2. In my experience the BioMed Central journals tend to be pretty solid and reputable while having an "all the news that's fit to print" attitude, as opposed to filtering more heavily on things like novelty and perceived impact. For example, their mandate reads in part "...committed to publishing all sound science, provided that there is some advance in knowledge presented by the work." It also happens that in this case the IF is basically exactly where you want it.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:51 AM on June 22, 2014

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