I have two papers published in a APS journal and another paper just got accepted to the same journal (the journal is a reputed one in my field). It has been almost two years for my PhD. So I have started drafting my next research outcome. My plan was to try another journal this time. However, my supervisor is suggesting me to submit to the same journal. If in case this journal's reputation goes down (however, this is very unlikely), all my work kinda get wasted. On the otherhand, is it good to have all PhD papers in one journal (It might look like I cannot reach scopes of other journals)? Thanks in advance.

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    Is there a reason you would think this journal's reputation would go down? This is not super common. And have you talked to your supervisor about your concern that this may make you seem too narrow? In general, journal scopes depend highly upon the indivdual journals.
    – Kimball
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 16:38
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    See this earlier question.
    – mrm
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 21:17
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    You're getting a lot of advice from the "interdisciplinary" crowd, but without knowing exactly your field and journal (and usually this site doesn't like to deal in such specifics), we can't give any better advice than your supervisor. For example, in my field there are exactly 2 very good journals, and everything else is stuff you don't want to be caught publishing in. Diversifying just because the internet told you would thus be foolish in my field, and for all we know might be foolish in yours.
    – user4512
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 0:47
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    The answer depends significantly on what field of physics you are in. In condensed matter physics, it might make sense to publish somewhere other than Physical Review B, to get your ideas out before a somewhat different audience. On the other hand, in particle theory, you might as well publish all your articles in Physical Review D.
    – Buzz
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 2:03
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    @QuantumGirl Some fields of physics (like condensed matter physics or fluid physics) have strong connections to other scientific and engineering fields (such as chemistry, electrical engineering, materials science, etc.). For physicists working in these areas, it often makes sense to publish in journals that are not pure physics journals, so that people in more disparate areas may see their work. On the other hand, research articles in particle or AMO physics are mostly of interest only to other physicists, and so publishing in a smaller circle of journals is probably not a problem.
    – Buzz
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 2:15

6 Answers 6


For the PhD itself it probably doesn't matter a lot, but if you are looking for a further research career, I'd advise diversifying a bit. It has the following advantages:

  • Other people may have another "favorite" journal, and if you have published in multiple journals, you increase the chances of people thinking "wow, she published in xyz!".
  • You will get a broader readership and generally more visibility if you publish in different journals.
  • There is some risk that people may see your research as too narrow if you only publish it in one single journal.

Maybe you can try adjusting the framing of your research problem a bit, so that another journal will become a better fit for it, and then try to convince your supervisor by comparing the scopes of journals and arguing why this paper fits better to the other journal.

  • Thanks for the detailed answer. I think you're right. I should convince my supervisor. Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:45

Welcome to academia@stackexchange, @QuantumGirl. It might differ (slightly) between fields, but in general, I'd say it is not good. Journals have different readerships, and you want to reach different audiences. Next to that, you want to avoid the impression that you are a one-trick-pony with research that is so narrow that it is only publishable in one specific journal (again, not knowing the specific circumstances in your field of course). But in general, a bit of diversification to me sounds a much better strategy, even if it is a good journal.

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    One might want to consider diversifying beyond the greater 'brand' - I mean, if you normally publish in Phys Rev B, a Phys Rev Letter is not that far from the tree (but more highly cited). Similarly J. Applied Physics and Applied Physics Letters are closely related. Look at the papers that you reference, and where else those groups publish. Always a good thing to broaden your experience.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:44
  • @damian and Jon yes you are correct. The journal is in Phy Rev series. I would really love to get comments for my paper from another journal reviewers. So I will talk with my supervisor. Thanks alot Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:49
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    I believe that also "meeting" new referees from another journals would have some impact for future directions of study. Either way, Physical Review Journals are respectable in the community.
    – Nikey Mike
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 16:22

I don't think it will affect the perceived quality of your work if the reputation of the journal declines. However unlikely to occur, it also wouldn't matter, Impact Factors are usually calculated based on the last 3-5 years and can be tracked over time. IF is a crude measure of quality and not many researchers judge an article or journal's quality solely on them. If it's a well-known journal in your field, the research community won't forget it's reputation (at the time you submitted) overnight. By that time your work should stand on it's own anyway, having lead to citations, grants, or further positions in the time being.

I'd be more concerned with the audience you want your work to reach and what you're co-authors can agree on. As my research is interdisciplinary (Bioinformatics), I'd aim at a range of journals for works more related to each field, reaching an audience that may appreciate it, cite in in future works, or use my supporting data and software packages. This has the added benefit of showing my range of skills to an employer just as I would support them with conference participation, teaching experience, or acquiring grants.

This may not be the best approach for everyone, it depends what you are doing and wish to in the future. Generally, you want to publish in field(s) where you wish to work in the future, where-ever that may be. The plus-side is that journals tend to encourage loyalty and will view your next paper as more suitable to their journal if it follows on from or cites existing work in their journal. This would reduce the workload to write for a new audience or defend more thorough review so you can focus on your thesis. However, I'd be cautious of doing this long-term at the expense of publishing opportunities in other journals. It's not common practice to exclusively submit to one journal for the bulk of your career.


Sometimes researchers have some sort of personal connections at the journal editorial offices. For most of the time such connections are good as they facilitate publication. To me its most likely the reason your supervisor insisted so.

Of course, it saves the time of acquainting yourself to the publication requirements of other journals and, if you are working consistently on a specific field, it helps to grow your readership.

So, if the paper fits the theme of the journal (and most importantly, the academic value of the paper and the IF of the journal is not a mismatch), I don's see there's any strong reason to change. The reputation thing sounds like a rare situation, I personally don't think it worth so much consideration.

  • as far as I know, he does not have personal connections with APS (My other team members could not publish in this Journal series). Thanks for your opinion. It is kind of a relief to hear about the reputation thing you mentioned :) Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 15:58
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    Oh...to clarify, by saying "connections" I didn't mean ones that unfairly ensure publication; rather I meant that both parties know each other and their work pattern so well that things proceed more smoothly.
    – Sheh
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 16:04
  • I know. There can be situations. But I am not sure if that can happen in a Phy Rev. Anyway I am not sure :) Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 16:08
  • @QuantumGirl what do you mean by "My other team members could not publish in this Journal series"?
    – Nikey Mike
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 17:25
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    @QuantumGirl I understand. I also have seen that with a new submission the editor is changed.
    – Nikey Mike
    Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 18:15

If the journal you mean is Cell/Nature/Science, then... well, god does exist in the world, may I have your signature please?

Otherwise, it is not very important. For most people it is more like "publish the paper to the best journal that accepts it" rather than "I decide where I publish my paper".

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    You know, Nature and Science are considered trash journals in some fields (like mine).
    – user4512
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 0:43
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    @ChrisWhite is it so?I am not aware of that case. What's your field, if you dont mind :) Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 4:45
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    It depends if you want a wide readership. At least from a Biology perspective, most of the work going into these journals is good quality. However you may not be able to help it if your topic or findings aren't of wide enough interest to get into these very often. However, it's worth noting that these journals prefer novelty and this emphasis does lead to shortcomings, particularly in computational or statistical aspects as reviewers tend to focus on the results or experimental design.
    – Tom Kelly
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 12:43

Most people would base their decision on:

  1. The relative rating or impact factor of the journal compared with others relevant to the same field; and
  2. The relevance of your material to what the journal typically publishes and their audience.

The citations you are likely to get will be influenced by both the profile of the journal and the relevance of the material to its readership.

Its therefore perfectly feasible (and sensible) to publish material in a 'lower ranked' journal if the research you are looking to publish has greater relevance for that audience.

BUT - if the research in question is genuinely only a 1-shot-at-goal only situation when it comes to publication - then you would usually be inclined to go for the highest rated journal that you can as these outlets can be very selective.

Be aware however that, for better or worse, most academics will now 'salami slice' the output from their research, or different aspects of it, for different outlets. This is not always a bad thing (and may not actually constitute 'salami slicing'). For example, a paper emphasising theoretical or methodological aspects to the research may go to a different outlet to one that is more applied or gives greater emphasis to context, findings or implications in practice.

This final point does however flag that if you are only ever publishing in one journal it does convey a relatively narrow focus in terms of how you convey the relevance of your research and your willingness to engage a broader audience.

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