Imagine you have a certain manuscript which you submitted multiple times over a period of a few years. The manuscript covers a niche topic and is not of interest to a more general audience. The manuscript is very basic, its results are valid but nothing novel / extraordinary. Reasons for rejection vary, mainly from "not making a contribution to the field" to "others have shown it before". The manuscript was never desk-rejected. It underwent peer review at 8(!) different journals. One constantly tries to improve a passage here and there, but comments affect the "overall product". In sum, the manuscript could only be published in a lower-tier journal. One already invested countless hours and the following question emerges:

Should I publish in a low-tier journal (+1 publication) or should I refrain from it because the manuscript could be disregarded (having wasted time but having learned a lesson)?

  • @Anyon Thank you so much for posting that related question. I feel that I know the weakness of the article under discussion: it is ordinary, it is not novel and it is common knowledge (though never shown in a scientific article).
    – Dr.M
    Apr 12 at 17:30
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    Is it true that others have shown before what your manuscript shows? If so, are there other factors that make your manuscript an addition to the literature? Apr 13 at 7:59

2 Answers 2


If you're satisfied that whatever argument you make in the paper is valid, and you've done all you can to implement the previous referees' suggested changes, then go ahead and submit it somewhere you think it can get accepted, don't worry about tiers of journals. (With the slight caveat that you should avoid pay-to-play type journals that publish things for cash, rather than on the basis of quality.)

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    A slightly different way of phrasing this might be that the only tier not to publish in is one which would give a worse impression than putting the paper on the Arxiv or your personal/institution website. Obviously, where you consider that boundary to be is somewhat a matter of personal opinion.
    – origimbo
    Apr 13 at 12:40

I used to work as a statistician and in two of the places I worked, my boss was one of the leading figures in their field, each with hundreds of publications and invitations to the most prestigious conferences.

And, while both of them sometimes published in the highest tier journals in their fields (or, sometimes, even in places like Science) they also both sometimes published in niche journals of far lesser rank.

One of the arts of being an academic is getting better at figuring out where to submit.

But .... You've already spent the time. So, submit. (Although I agree with Dan, avoid pay-to-play journals or any with a sort of negative reputation).

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