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I am considering where to submit a recently finished preprint, and one of the best fits is a journal associated with the country where I'm working. That is, I'm a postdoc in one of main cities of X-land, and the jounal is called 'X-land Jounrnal of Mathematics'. Is the connection an argument in favour or against publishing there?

The arguemnts for publishing in XJM are, I think, quite natural: given that I'm working in X-land, I want other X-ians to be interested in my work, and they're perhaps fractionally more likely to have a look at XJM than YJM for Y != X. Assuming that publishing a paper in a journal is mutually beneficial, it stands to reason that I'd be happier to help XJM than a random other journal (even if infinitesimally so).

On the other hand, I have heard arguments in the opposite direction. The key worry is that the paper may be taken less seriously, and some slight academic nepotism might be suspected. That is, someone could see the publication and think it was just published because XJM looks more favourably on papers sent from X.

Are any of these concerns valid? If given a choice between publishing in a "local" journal, or an equally good "non-local" journal, which is a better idea? Or is it just the same, and I'm massively overthinking?

The field is pure mathematics. I don't want to name names, but the population of X is of the order of 10 mln. I realise the points "For" are very minor, and the arguments "Against" are probably minor too. I'm not originally from X, but would gladly hear how the answer would change if I were.

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    What is the alternative? "Y-land journal of Mathematics", or "Journal of Mathematics"? I would expect X and Y-lander to read Journal of Mathematics, but X-lander are more likely to read 'X-land JoM' than 'Y-land JoM', and vice versa for Y-lander. I would prefer JoM (without xy-land). I always think that papers in Z-land Journal of Topic have tried Journal of Topic first, then A-continent Journal of Topic, and then ended up in Z-land Journal of Topic. Some even have to go to Z-land Journal of Very Specific Topic. They can still be good papers, but I think they are much less likely to be seen. – Mark Oct 6 '17 at 16:19
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    @Mark: The alternative is Journal of Topic (as well as Journal of Slightly Differently Phrased Topic). In this particular case, XJM and JoT are on approximately the same level. Of course, different countries have journals at different levels, and X-land happens to be relatively good when it comes to mathematics. – Jakub Konieczny Oct 6 '17 at 17:02
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I'm only going on my own experience here but I believe:

Location of the journal should only be taken into consideration after some other, more important, factors.

  1. You should choose a journal that is a good fit for the topic, length and style of your paper.
  2. You should pick a journal with at least one editor who will know roughly what you are talking about.
  3. You should aim for as good a quality journal as is reasonable for the quality of the paper (this will most help your career).
  4. There may be certain journals you just prefer to avoid (obviously junk/scam journals, but also eg. many mathematicians avoid Elsevier).
  5. You need to consider any publishing costs (eg. for open access journals) and any rules you must follow (eg. UK open access requirements).
  6. Where your field allows, avoid sending multiple papers to the same couple of journals (which could suggest one or two editors happen to like you).

Once you have a short list that meets these requirements, you could reasonably choose a local journal in favour of a non-local one. I think the other requirements will avoid the suggested negative impacts, when your work is viewed as a whole.

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A couple of reasons publishing in an X-land journal (like Math.Scand.) could make sense:

  • You'd like to commemorate and emphasize the fact that you were a postdoc in country X;
  • You're interested in getting another job in country X;
  • Your work is of somewhat general mathematical interest and not narrowly focused within a certain mathematical field (like that of the Journal of Topic).

Generally, a good criterion may be whether your work is of interest to editorial board members of the X-land journal (and conversely whether their work interests you), or whether the same is more true of Journal of Topic.

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One consideration is if you want to help such local journals. If publishing your paper in a local journal will help maintain or even increase the quality of mathematical publications in that country, and you would like to contribute to the flourishing of mathematics there, then that would be a perfectly valid reason to do so, even if it means passing up on a more prestigious journal. It all depends on what your goals are.

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    I like this as an idea, but I think it's possibly not wise for a postdoc who wants to stay in academia. – Jessica B Oct 15 '17 at 18:55

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