The right journal for the right paper…

After the success of my DIY writing retreat earlier in the year which resulted in a full paper draft that then went on to be accepted with revisions, I was keen to lock myself away for another retreat to begin work on another paper. I’ve booked in days to have a retreat Monday & Tuesday of this coming week when I’m not teaching and this time I’m going for beach writing rather than a retreat on the olive farm. I’m lucky that I have retreat locations built in, living on a farm & having parents who live in a seaside town. The beach based retreat also provides the added bonus of having my parents make me cups of tea while I write! There are a couple of fave food places in my hometown that I will reward myself with as writing breaks, and of course, walking on the beach will be the way to kick start my brain when I begin to flag.

I don’t just head away with the goal of getting a paper started as I figure that’s a recipe for disaster which could involve me sitting at my computer for two days hoping that paper writing inspiration will come. The pre-retreat work involves looking at my publication plan and deciding upon which paper I will write, which data I will use and which journal I will target. I’ve got a framework for a number of possible journal articles based on some of my current research projects and the paper I’ve selected to write during this retreat comes from data collected last year. The main challenge I’ve faced with planning this retreat involves a dilemma regarding my target journal. The dilemma isn’t is much which journal to target but simply the fact that the journal I want to target is a journal that has already accepted one of my papers for publication this year. I’ve got some hesitation about writing another paper for that journal as I feel that I should be diversifying my publications and not sending things to the same journal. I’m torn between the positives and negatives of doing this.

The positives lie in the fact that by submitting another paper to this journal I’m trying to build up a body of work in this particular field, all the people I’m drawing from read this journal and publish in it. I think the topic of the paper is a perfect fit for this particular journal- in fact I tried to think about alternative journals to submit this paper to but it seemed like I was trying to jam a puzzle piece into a space it didn’t go. Most of the work I will draw from has been published in this journal. I think that I’m beginning to understand how to write papers for this journal as well, I read it a lot and have a sense of the structure, style and scope of the journal.

The negatives though lie in my concern about how this might he perceived by others. Will they think I am taking a more comfortable approach by submitting to this same journal? If I only submit to this journal am I shooting myself in the foot by limiting the exposure of my research and the chance to make others aware of my work?

I turn back to my publication plan to help guide me in this decision. Looking over the list of things I want to write, I see that other, future, as yet unwritten papers, have the scope to be sent to a range of different journals. This may be the last article I’m sending to this journal for at least the next twelve months. I could always write a different article during my writing retreat but this article begs to be written. It’s the one I think about when I walk through the grove, the one I’m pondering and planning as I drive to and from work. So the decision is made for me. I will write this article. I will target this journal and I’ll see how I go.

My pre-retreat work then involve some deliberations about which journal and once a decision is made it involves some more pre-reading so that I can flesh out my ideas in relation to the literature in the field and in relation to the theoretical frame of the work.
So the plan for this retreat is to get the bulk of a paper drafted, particularly the intro, lit review, method and analysis section. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to get the bulk of the discussion written as well.

But what about you? What are your thoughts on targeting the same journal twice in a year?

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