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My advisor and I are considering where to submit a paper based on my thesis. Originally we planned to submit it to Journal X, but an opportunity arose to submit it to Journal Y following a conference invitation (where "X" and "Y" are so named to preserve the generality of the question and my privacy).

Journal X is a popular journal with a distinguished editorial board. On ranking sites such as scimagojr it appears to be ranked Q1 or Q2 depending on the subject field with the rest of the statistics similar.

In recent years, 2010 and onwards, Journal Y seems to significantly outrank Journal X in virtually all the statistics offered by scimagojr (e.g. its H-index and "impact factor" are several times higher), though their subjects of interest only partially overlap. It ranks among the top 5% journals in its listed subjects (it seems to have exploded in 2010 or so). So, to me it naturally seems a better target for publication.

The issue is this: my advisor (a well-known researcher in his field who knows a lot of people) is unfamiliar with this journal, and is generally unfamiliar with its editorial board, which seems to him of not very high quality. As such, though he seems impressed by the rankings, he is unsure if I should submit it to this journal and left the decision to me.

The question is this: how should I weigh the "prestige" of the editorial board of a Journal as compared to the more numerical statistics offered by scimagojr? Should I be concerned that my advisor doesn't know anyone on the board?

  • What field? (How significant and meaningful are the statistical differences?) – Alexander Woo Jun 27 '17 at 20:28
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Sumbit where you think it will have a better visibility. Rule of thumb: do not submit to a journal that you barely know any member of the editorial board. You want to maximize the impact of your paper and, as such, submit somehwere where it would be most appreciated both by the editorial and by the readership of the journal.

I do not think it will do your paper a big favour to submit to a journal with high (possibly artificially infated) statistics than to one well known and well respected, with distinguished editorial board most likely to take good notice of your work and, consequently, you.

  • One thing to note is that the publication in Journal Y is a special issue of invited papers from the conference. So I would say it is already appreciated in a sense, if that is what you meant... – mich Jun 27 '17 at 9:26
  • @mich you should take into account also the potential readership. – PsySp Jun 27 '17 at 9:32
  • With regards to potential readership, the journal has partial fit, but the -conference- has good fit. Since this is a special issue of the proceedings of the conference, should I weigh into account the journal or the conference more? – mich Jun 27 '17 at 9:36
  • @mich being a special issue for a conference, does not necessarily means that this journal is the best fit of your work. There might be other reasons on why this journal was selected (or was offered). In my opinion, it is better to submit where you think it will be more appreciated. Be also advised that "rankings" mean very little in the sense that some journal are very reputed although their official rankings are lower than other journals. – PsySp Jun 28 '17 at 15:04
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    Ultimately I came to the same conclusion, which is why I accepted your answer :-) – mich Jun 29 '17 at 22:12

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