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July 13, 1994

Authors' Criteria for Selecting Journals

JAMA. 1994;272(2):163-164. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520020089026

Objective.  —To evaluate authors' methods of selecting the journals to which they submit manuscripts.

Design and Setting.  —In 1992, all of the active clinical and research faculty of Stanford University School of Medicine (n=479), Palo Alto, Calif, were sent up to three mailings of a one-page questionnaire.

Results.  —Our response rate was 63.7% (n=305). On a scale of 1 (unimportant) to 6 (very important), respondents ranked factors affecting initial manuscript submission to a journal in the following descending order (mean values are reported): the journal's prestige, 5.2; the makeup of the journal's readership, 4.8; whether the journal usually publishes articles on the topic, 4.8; the likelihood of manuscript acceptance, 4.4; the size of journal circulation, 4.1; the rapidity of manuscript turnaround, 4.1; the existence of good editors, 3.9; the likelihood of useful reviewer suggestions, 3.4; a history of having published in that journal previously, 3.4; colleagues' recommendations, 3.1; the likelihood of useful biostatistical suggestions, 2.6; the existence of editors who are personally known to the author, 2.1; and the likelihood of press attention, 1.9. For subsequent submissions, the most important factors were the likelihood of manuscript acceptance (5.0) and whether the journal usually publishes articles on the topic (4.7).

Conclusions.  —Journal prestige, most frequently published journal topics, and readership composition were the most important factors for initial manuscript submissions. For subsequent submissions, more pragmatic variables, such as likelihood of acceptance, gained importance. These findings should help editors make their journals more attractive to potential authors.(JAMA. 1994;272:163-164)