Are their any requirements to publish an article in a journal without a degree in the field? If so, what are they?

I was curious if people in general can publish in an journal when they have not obtained a degree in the field.

  • Journals publish whatever they feel is suitable for their audience and reputation. The problem may be to convince an editor that your manuscript is worth having a serious look at. – Karl May 8 at 22:54

No editor will care (or for that matter could know) about your degree. What matters is the contents of the submission, and if it meets the standard of the journal. There are plenty of chemists or electrical engineers who publish in physics journal, plenty of physicists who publish in chemistry or engineering or math journals.

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    Of course it is important that people publishing 'across fields' are still trained in academic research and how to publish things more generally... it's many fold more difficult to publish without any prior experience or mentorship without coming off as a quack. – Bryan Krause May 8 at 22:47
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    @BryanKrause I wish I could say that people with prior experience never come off as quacks... but that’s a different question. – ZeroTheHero May 8 at 23:09

Yes, you can publish provided that the editor and the reviewers accept your paper, perhaps after revision. There are no "credentialing" requirements to publish in a field.

Some people are just self taught and rise to a high level. It is true, however, that the reviewers may look at your lack of degree and decide to be extra vigilant. But they should be vigilant with new degree candidates as well. Actually they should just be vigilant, of course.

There are some fields, however, that in some places you need to be careful about. But that is more about how you present yourself than what you write. For example, in some places it is illegal to call yourself an "engineer" without a degree and, perhaps, a license.

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    The reviewers will have scant reason to "look at your degree". If they don't already know your name (which might be the case if they were long-time experienced, and you were, too), they may wonder who you are, but most people would know that they shouldn't necessarily pursue that aspect, but should judge the paper on its own merits. If anything, reasonable referees are more forgiving and helpful to novices, than to people who should already know "how things are done" (=conventions). – paul garrett May 8 at 22:25
  • @paulgarrett, I hope that by "forgiving" you mean more likely to offer good advice for improvement, rather than accepting papers of lesser quality. The reviewers aren't there to be "nice". They are there to assure only quality papers get published. – Buffy May 8 at 22:32
  • Anybody can call himself an engineer. What's (rather universally) forbidden is to affect having a degree or title issued by an official body. – Karl May 8 at 22:39
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    @Karl, actually, no. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer#Regulation – Buffy May 8 at 22:44
  • @Buffy, I mean that flaws are not viewed as immediately fatal, for beginners, but admitting improvement, and maybe needing advice. In contrast, if I were sent a senior person's paper to referee, and it was written in the voice of a 25-year-old, I'd wonder what the heck was going on. – paul garrett May 8 at 22:45

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