Friday, October 26, 2012

Picking a journal to publish in as a student

Mike Smith has a post on picking what kind of journal to publish in (mostly) as a graduate student. Rightly, he points to the need of striking the right balance between the prestige/name recognition of the journal and the desire to have the publication come out in a timely manner. As he says "They need quick publications, which would favor a lower-ranking journal. But a paper in a top journal looks awfully good on your CV." He then provides a few personal rules of thumb to help resolve this tension.

I'm in the process of writing another post about tips for publishing as a graduate student that builds on another one of Smith's recent posts, and one of the points I'm making is this: As unbelievable as it probably feels to graduate students, they actually have more time than faculty members, given that the impacts of not publishing are somewhat less negative to their immediate success - though of course publishing during your grad years is nothing but a net positive. In any case, this relative luxury of time means that students can (and should) risk 'shooting for the stars' and submit to prestigious venues, even if they have long turnaround times and/or high rejection rates - Current Anthropology would appear to be a prime example here. Now, this piece of advice comes with one fairly major caveat: you have to start publishing early as a graduate student; if you're staring graduation in the face or are at an advanced stage in the PhD and you need publications to be competitive on the job market, then this advice is null and void. But assuming you're at the end of your MA or first year or two of your PhD, the gamble can pay off big. And if it gets turned down, then you still have time to turn the paper around and resubmit somewhere else, now with the benefit of some reviewers' comments.

PS: I realize this is kind of a weird 'getting back to blogging' post, but bear with me... life has been hectic these past several months.