Thursday, 6 June 2013
Does the Journal really matter?
I was reading some blog posts on which journals you should send your paper to and what strategies to use to decide.
And it made me wonder - Does anyone actually sit down and just read a journal through any more?
I used to do it with Bioinformatics, it got sent to our lab, so every so often I'd just sit down and read the journal through. The only time I do this now is during occasional down time when I'm at a conference, since they tend to give out journal editions for free. It seems like a waste of my finite time resources these days to read through a journal.
What I do instead is just search for what I'm interested in and read the relevant papers. And here comes the important bit. I read the papers regardless of where they are published. I probably won't even look at what journal they're in until I have to make a note of the reference, which considering I can add it to my Mendeley library with one click, may not be until I'm just about to submit a paper, some months down the line.
So if I work like this, I'm assuming at least some proportion of other people do too (I'm thinking this is likely to be skewed by age, but not necessarily). It just seems to me to be another reason that the whole impact factor / prestigious journal thing is redundant. I don't read the papers because they're in Nature, I read them because they're interesting, so other than a line on your CV what is the actual point in trying to get your paper published in a high IF journal?