Several times I have read papers published by the journals where the scope of the publishing journal is totally different (if you consider the scope of the journal as it is explained in their homepage. In some cases, I am sure that there is no related/ or even some close system keywords for submitting the paper). Therefore, the papers I am talking about are not even on the borderline.

How these papers get published by such different journals? How the authors deal with selecting the system keywords from the journal's list when they are extremely different? (which clearly means that the journal's aim and scope are extremely different with the paper)

  • 2
    I think the answers range from "it's a predatory journal so they don't care" to "well, the editor liked it", to it's not actually as unrelated as you think (perhaps your expertise is more narrow; perhaps there are indirect applications not clear to you). I'm not sure what usefulness an answer will have for you - what problem are you trying to solve?
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 22 at 17:39
  • I am trying to understand if I can send one day a paper which is an extension of those especial papers to the same journals with those unrelated keywords, and not seen as naiive or mad to do something 99-100% impossible. In the past I have had two such papers and gave up sanding the papers when I saw the list of the jornal keywords that I should select in the submission system. But I still everyday that I see the papers in the same situation, I ask myself how they have selected keywords and how the journals accepted to review those papers. (actually, I am not talking about predatory journals.)
    – m123
    Mar 22 at 20:42
  • 2
    Who is your intended audience for a paper that you publish in a journal with the wrong scope? If I were to publish a set theory paper in a number theory journal, it wouldn't be seen there by set theorists. It would be seen by number theorists who would find it incomprehensible or uninteresting or both. The only reason I can see for such a publication strategy is that the paper is so lousy that I don't want set theorists to see it, yet I want to be able to list it on my CV. Mar 22 at 23:31
  • @Andreas Blass: So, based on your last line, we must be careful when we want to such papers in our work, yes? Also, when we select one of them to extend? Since (if it is correct) specialized journals might be doubtful about the reference paper to be weak. Is that right?
    – m123
    Mar 25 at 11:01
  • @m123 I don't recommend writing and publishing lousy papers. Anyone who insists on publishing lousy papers should indeed be careful. A lousy paper might admit a good extension, but in that case I'd finish the extension and publish that. Mar 25 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


These decisions are made by people, not machines. The reviewers can advise whatever they like and editors probably have some leeway in going outside the "stated" scope of a journal. They might choose to publish what they consider a very high quality paper if it is outside the scope. And some papers might also get printed for no other reason than that there are page quotas and deadlines that need to be met, so a paper outside scope might be preferable to one that is of low quality but within scope. Humans. Ain't we weird?

  • Therefore, I can try them and have hope not to receive a rejection by scope? but how can we select the keywords/edicts in the submission system when there is no related one? and one more question is, based on your last lines, in means that publishing in unrelated journal doesn't affect the negative first impression/judgement of others who haven't read the paper throughoutly? With a reason like: specialized journals have access to more professional reviewers who can evaluate the paper more precisely?
    – m123
    Mar 22 at 20:50
  • Trying them seems risky. The keywords are mostly to help the editor choose reviewers. If you are out of scope it may be harder for them and a desk reject more likely. Had your question been "Should I submit an out of scope paper" I'd have suggested not. At a minimum it will tie the paper up for a while.
    – Buffy
    Mar 22 at 20:55
  • So, are the authors who publish these kinds of papers taking risk? Or the have some background information about their target journal that I don't have? (for example, they know that the journal has an editor who his field is the same as them, or the journal publishes a specific topic too although seen as unrelated)
    – m123
    Mar 22 at 21:15
  • Can these papers get evaluated equally to those published in technical journals of the same scope as the paper?
    – m123
    Mar 22 at 21:18
  • Things vary. Impossible to say for sure. Just don't depend on exceptions to happen.
    – Buffy
    Mar 22 at 21:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .