Thursday, February 25, 2010

Submitting Work

I normally say you should submit work for publication six times a year. The number is a a bit arbitrary and may even seem unrealistic. But if you allow conference submissions, resubmissions, and submissions of work rejected from one journal to another journal, it starts to seem possible for most people.

At the beginning of the year you finally submit the paper you were working on last year to your target journal. Three months later, you are told to make major revisions and resubmit; four months after that you've finished the revisions and submitted it again. That's two submissions.

At the same time, you've started two new papers and submitted them to the summer conferences. Four.

Now, that first paper we talked about may be accepted with minor revisions. Next year, you'll have to submit it again. And this means we can imagine that around the time you submitted it, you got that kind of review back on another paper. You make those revisions. Five.

Finally, one of those summer conferences may have gone really well. You got some really useful feedback on your presentation and were able to sit down and work the paper into shape for journal submission in under two months. So by November you're submitting it for publication. Six.

The other conference paper can wait till next year.

Last year, I finished a paper and began to submit it to journals for publication. It was rejected from six different journals before it was finally accepted (with minor revisions). The final version was submitted early this year. That paper alone meets my quota of six submissions for last year. In fact, it exceeds it: after being rejected six times it took another two submissions to get it accepted.

If I were a department head or research director, I would not worry too much (although a little) about how much my researchers were actually publishing. I would want to make sure they were submitting work often.


Jonathan said...

What if I submit three times and get three acceptances. I haven't met your quota but I've published three times more than someone who submits six times and gets one acceptance... If you're in the line-up you'll get the at bats, but you also have to look at your batting average.

Thomas said...

Suppose you submit three papers at the beginning of the year and three months later they've all been accepted. I don't think I would say don't bother submitting again for the rest of the year.

Alternatively, if you're spreading the submissions over a year, then you don't know until the end what you're batting. So, again, I'd be recommending taking a few more swings at it.