The most unequivocal and least surprising finding of citation studies is that articles published in top journals tend to be cited more often than those published in lower ranked journals. Every single article we found that considered journal quality, concluded that publishing in higher ranked journals increases chances of citations. In fact, some studies have identified journal rank as the most important factor in predicting future citations, for example.
The reasons top journals get more citations likely include a number of factors. Perhaps one of the most important is the boost they get from their reputation. In most fields certain journals have gained a reputation for authoritativeness. Given the choice between multiple journals, most scholars will cite an article in a well-known journal over a lower ranked one. Thus, if a legal scholar has to choose between an article in the Harvard Law Review and a similar one in a lower ranked journal, they will generally cite the Harvard Law Review piece.
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Here we recommend submitting to as many journals as you reasonably can. Where possible, tailor cover letters and related materials to the journal. Highlight why a journal would benefit from publishing your article. Pay attention to publishing and acceptance schedules and plan accordingly. Make sure you know the top journals in your discipline. If you are accepted to a less prestigious journal early, try to leverage that acceptance to gain an offer from a higher ranked journal.
In the end, as you’ve undoubtedly heard before, publish in the best journal you are accepted to. If you are only accepted to less well-known journals and unsure which ranks better, look to journal ranking systems within your discipline (for example an example from the legal field, see Washington & Lee’s rankings) and consider asking colleagues their impressions of the journals.
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Pamela Royle, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Katharine Barnard, and Norman Waugh
life and health sciences
Jeffrey L. Harrison and Amy R. Mashburn
Clyde W. Holsapple and Wenhong Luo
Included nearly 20,000 articles in the study.
biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, and physics
Fereshteh Didegah, Mike Thelwall
nanoscience and nanotechnology
This article found that articles with more references are cited more often and that articles with references to “high impact” works get even more citations.
Anupama Annalingam, Hasitha Damayanthi, Ranil Jayawardena, and Priyanga Ranasinghe
Sri Lankan medical research
Tian Yu and Guang Yu
information science & library science
José A.N.F. Gomes and Elizabeth S. Vieira
physics & chemistry
Matthew E. Falagas, Angeliki Zarkali ,Drosos E. Karageorgopoulos, Vangelis Bardakas, and Michael N. Mavros
general medicine journals
Nick Haslam, Peter Koval
social, personality psychology
Yassine Gargouri, Chawki Hajjem, Vincent Larivière, Yves Gingras, Les Carr, Tim Brody, Stevan Harnad
General / interdisciplinary
Nick Haslam, Lauren Ban, Leah Kaufmann, Stephen Loughnan, Kim Peters, Jennifer Whelan, Sam Wilson
Looked at articles from 1998.
Tai‐Quan Peng, Jonathan J.H. Zhu
All the articles we found supported this tip.
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