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I. Clarifying Your Career Goals and Publication Needs

May 02, 2019 by Dr Sally

Welcome to the ACW blog series on selecting a journal that matches your publication needs. This blog series is written primarily for those academics who have limited experience with the publishing process—graduate students learning how to get published, postdocs looking for a permanent position, tenure-track faculty members trying to achieve tenure. This blog series will provide some guidelines and activities to help you work toward selecting a journal that aligns with your publication needs and supports your career goals.

Clarifying Your Career Goals

Determining where to publish your work can be a significant step in advancing your career. To select a journal that matches your needs, you first need to review your career goals and identify what role you want your publication to play in advancing these goals. What do you hope to achieve with the publication of your article? In other words, how does this particular article and where it is published fit in with your career goals and larger research plans?

Activity 1: Clarifying Your Career Goals

  1. Take a minute to write out a brief description of where you are in your career right now and what you are trying to achieve. What is the overarching goal? If you are a job seeker, be very specific about the kind of job you are looking for. If you are a junior faculty member, are you looking to get tenure at your current institution or do you plan to apply to other institutions?
  2. Once you have formed a clearer picture of how you want your career to proceed, jot down what you think the publication requirements are to meet your goal? Is it a certain number of publications? Is it being first author on your publications or does that matter? Is it publishing in a prestigious journal in your field?
  3. For this blog series, you should consider an article that you think could advance your career goals. Describe briefly how you think your article fits into this picture. How will your article help to advance your career goals?
  4. Now think about your timeline. How long do you have or do you plan to give yourself to achieve your goal? For instance, if you are a postdoc, when does your funding run out? If you are on the tenure track, how long do you have until your portfolio is due?

Answering these questions will help you think about the journal that will best fit your needs.

Why Do You Need to Determine Journal Fit?

Why is selecting the journal so important? Since your major career goal involves publishing your article, it is crucial to select a journal that fits your career needs. In this series, you will need to think more about your publication needs, and you will learn the importance of selecting a journal that targets your intended audience and is a good fit for the topic and format of your article. Failing to take the time to ensure that the journal aligns with your targeted audience, your topic, and your type of article will likely result in a rejection.

This blog series will cover:

  • Identifying Your Article Topic, Article Type, and Audience
  • Selecting Potential Journals for Your Topic, Article Type, and Audience
  • Selecting a Journal That Fits Your Timeline
  • Selecting a Journal Based on its Prestige Factors
  • Comparing Potential Journals for the Best Match
  • Maintaining Flexibility in Deciding Journal Fit

As you proceed through this blog series, keep in mind that finding a journal that best fits your publication needs is an iterative process. You may believe you have identified just the right journal only to find as you draft your article that your topic has evolved and your publication requirements need to be adjusted accordingly.

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