Suppose there are several journals with the same impact factor. Is it better to submit my papers to one of them or each time I finished a manuscript it is better to submit to an equally good journal that I have not published in yet.

I am early in my career and I already published two papers in the same journal and I am going to finish my third paper, which potentially can be published in the same journal as my previous two papers.

  • I find it hard to see any distinction.
    – Buffy
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 18:25
  • 4
    What matters is what is in the papers, not what the papers are in. Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 18:27
  • What David said. In fact, what is in the papers is more important than the impact factors of the journals.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 18:47
  • Are we to assume that these journals have the exact same scope, that none of them tens to publish more papers on your topic than the others, and that the journals are otherwise equally appealing to you?
    – Anyon
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


While I cannot state authoritatively that this is the case for all disciples, it is my experience that it does not matter. Equally prestigious journals have equal prestige. Moreover, while the reputations of the journals you publish in is certainly not irrelevant to your future career prospects, you should expect your work to be evaluated at a deeper level than just looking at journal names and citation counts.

If you want to pursue a research career, the people who will be considering hiring you are going to want to know about the substance and significance of your work. What journals you publish in may be relatively low down on the list of things that they look at. Hiring committees want to see clear explanations of why your work matters from your reference letter writers; and the committee members likely will read some of your publications for themselves and draw their own conclusions about the quality of your work.

For reference, when I was a post-doc, I published the vast majority of my papers in a single highly-regarded journal, and it was never an issue when I was looking for permanent faculty positions. I do not think the issue of having too many publications in a single journal has ever come up in the search committees that I have been on either.

  • Is there a risk that a single, reputable journal will fail?
    – user2768
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 7:15

In general, it doesn't matter a lot, especially if you have more than a few publications.

However, if you work in a field with a number of sub-disciplines and different audiences, which journals you publish in says something about your specialization.

Say, you are a political scientist and have only published three papers so far. Those papers analyzed the implementation of different environmental policy instruments on different levels of government (regional, national, European, international). With this overlapping topic you could have published some or all of your papers in an environmental policy journal, in an European integration journal, in a regulation-focused journal, or in an international relations journal, etc.

If, for some reason, you published all three in, say, Environmental Policy and Governance, this will brand you as environmental policy specialist. But perhaps you would rather like to be seen as European integration scholar, as a comparative politics researcher, or as someone with a broad profile. This is a strategic decision that you have to make especially at the beginning of your career, with a view to the jobs you are planning to apply for.

So the answer to your question depends on your career trajectory and on which profile you want to build.

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