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I wonder if there is a deadline for submission to a journal? So far, I only know that submission to conferences has a deadline, but I'm not sure about journals.

I've looked at several journals of Elsevier, IEEE, and Springer, and I cannot find any information about the deadlines. I did some search on Google and understand the process as follows:

  • One journal may publish multiple issues per year. If at the moment I submit a paper to a journal and miss the deadline of the current issues (which I do not know of), my paper will be reviewed for the next one.

  • Although there is no "fixed" deadline, but if I submit a paper and it is to be revised, I will then have some amount of time to finish the revision - so that's some sort of deadline, but it's relative to each paper.

Another question is that, as a Ph.D. student in machine learning/artificial intelligence, should I focus more on conferences or journals? It's been 6 months since I started my Ph.D. and I haven't published anything. In France, a Ph.D. lasts for only 3 years and my doctorate school demands at least 4 papers published from a "successful" Ph.D. student. Should I start worrying now?

Thank you very much!

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    Conference vs journal publishing differs by field. What is your field? – Bryan Krause Mar 4 '20 at 13:41
  • Precisely I work on predictive maintenance using machine learning/artificial intelligence. So I guess my field is engineering and applied machine learning. – Elise Le Mar 4 '20 at 13:50
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Generally speaking journals have multiple issues on some schedule from weekly to annually. A paper can be submitted at any time. The review process will then proceed and the paper may be revised on recommendation of reviewers. When the paper it ready for publication, an editor (managing editor) will schedule it for some future issue.

So, there is no real deadline for normal journal submission. However, there is no guarantee that a paper submitted right now will be published soon. The review process takes time and there can be delays. But earlier submission (of a well written paper) is preferred. Submitting a sloppy paper early and hoping for early publication is probably a bad idea. The review will take longer and rejection is possible.

However, some journals publish special issues, perhaps on a topic or to honor some person. For those, there is a deadline, but it is made clear when the "call" for papers goes out.

For the question which is better - journals or conferences -, it depends on the field. In CS, for example, conferences are the preferred venue for new work. In other fields conferences are much less important. Your advisor will know which is best for you and also whether you should have any concerns about your progress.

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  • Nice answer. One small thing to add and support your answer: With online early access (or similar titles), journals now publish articles shortly after acceptance before the scheduled issue comes out. This effect of this is to remove the wait for the next issue to come out. – Richard Erickson Mar 4 '20 at 17:52
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I will start from the bottom; No you should not worry. Without knowing your field, a PhD topic needs several months to get well defined (even though, things can change after) after reviewing state-of-the-art. So, I think you cannot say anything about your status and it is logical that you don't have any submission. For the other questions:

I've looked at several journals of Elsevier, IEEE, and Springer, and I cannot find any information about the deadlines.

No regular issues don't have deadlines. Special issues, yes! However, special issues are well specified in terms of topics.

One journal may publish multiple issues per year.

When we submit a paper to a journal, we don't know how long it will take until the final decision (from weeks to years). Also, we cannot decide to which issue it will appear.

I will then have some amount of time to finish the revision - so that's some sort of deadline, but it's relative to each paper.

This deadline is only for you to revise the paper and send it back to the same reviewers. Otherwise, the editor cannot reach the reviewers or they forget about your paper.

should I focus more on conferences or journals?

Only your supervisor and/or the PhD committee at your faculty can answer this.

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