Preparation and Submission
Preparation for Submission
on the finished version for one week
the paper is completed, do not immediately submit it to a journal. (It is
not finished yet.)
invariably will find many small errors in text, notations, explanations,
or missing references, etc. in your finished paper.
the introduction, conclusion, and abstract before submission
these three parts carefully before you submit the paper to a journal and
eliminate all typographical errors and other embarrassing mistakes.
typographical error on the first page of introduction or abstract
indicates that the author is careless.
errors tend to lead referees and editors, rightly or wrongly, to conclude
that the paper should be rejected. They conclude that the author is
likely to be sloppy in substance as well. And they might be right.
you don't proofread your own introduction, why expect the referees to
spot and correct all the errors?
but do not rely totally on spelling checkers
should always check spelling before submission. But there are no
substitutes for reading the papers personally.
checkers do not check word meanings.
not arouse envy
not use fancy fonts or expensive bond paper.
not cite too many of your own papers.
referees might feel that you have published too many papers.
referees might feel justified to recommend rejection of your paper.
when he/she received one recently.
not thank famous people in the acknowledgment, at least not in the first
submission. The referee's contacts may not be as good as yours.
not thank family members. This is understandable, but it is
- It is
not a good idea to send a hand-written submission letter. The submission
letter contains critical information about the author (address, telephone
number, e-mail address, etc.) Your scribbling may be a challenge to the
deciphering ability of the editors or their assistants. A small
typographical error in the address might make a letter to the author
undeliberable. Here is an example:
- Use a
sturdy envelope, especially, if you are sending a manuscript to a foreign
country. An enclosed check might be missing from the package by the time
it reaches the editorial office.
do not want your package to arrive at the editorial office looking like
electronic submission if allowed by journals
offices increasingly are more willing to receive electronic submissions.
submissions are faster and safer.
- Word processor
files can damage the hard disk of the journal office. For this reasons,
they prefer PDF files.
submitting to journals that adopt double-blind refereeing process, submit
the cover page and the main body separately. Remove your name in the
document property (Your computer may record it automatically.)
people report that Acrobat PDF Writer does not always produce dependable
the dependable Acrobat Distiller. For
instance, after the Acrobat is installed, you can print a Word document
using Acrobat Distiller and save it at a desired drive. You can then
e-mail the file.
a PDF file is produced, go over it to see if all symbols
are properly represented. If a symbol is not properly converted by Adobe
Distiller, try retyping it using another font. Avoid using nonstandard symbols, because Acrobat Distiller
may not convert them properly.
the NSF site concerning problems you encounter when creating PDF files,
an early version as a working paper
- If a
paper contains enough substance of a roughly sketched idea, you may offer
it as a working paper, just for the record.
it to a dozen trusted friends in your field to get feedback.
do not distribute it widely.
papers can attract coauthors, and a revised version may be published
later. When you are up for promotion and tenure, the working papers
provide evidence that you have started the work.
not submit your working paper to an electronic journal
ready for the future of publishing. Most journals will become available
electronically over the coming years. Hard copies may still be available,
but they will be expensive because of limited print runs.
may submit abstracts to journals on the Internet, but it is not advisable
to post the actual articles.
legal purposes, the electronic publications may be treated as
publications. But for tenure and promotion purposes, they do not count as
publications. This is a problem.
- It is
easy for someone to manipulate the electronic copy (even PDF or PS files),
modify it a little, and submit it to another journal under a different
negative clues from acknowledgment
the acknowledgment, remove any reference to when the paper was conceived
of journals that adopt the double-blind review procedure are not likely
to send papers to persons mentioned in the acknowledgment.
not thank in the acknowledgment the people whom you would like to serve
as referees. Acknowledge them after the paper is accepted. Otherwise,
they are likely to be left out of the review process.
you receive an invitation to publish, include an acknowledgment to the
referees, whether anonymous or not.
10. Eliminate any trace of prior
not indicate when the paper was first written. If the original version
was written a few years earlier, the editors and the referees clearly see
that it has been rejected a few times.
not indicate how often the paper has been revised. This suggests you do
not listen and properly modify the paper to make it more publishable.
the references, eliminate any references to papers that were
"forthcoming" a few years back. This not only indicates that
your paper was previously rejected a few times, but also that you are
sloppy in updating the references.
11. Submit your paper to a rising journal
specialty journals are rising.
acceptance rate may be higher. Payoff is greater later.
and avoid the declining journals whose acceptance rate is low with a
diminishing payoff later.
journals, except for a few at the top, are expected to decline because of
increased specialization and the resulting drop in demand for them. In
general journals, "readers are confronted with a decreasing
probability of finding at least one important article" (Holub,
Tappeiner, and Eberharter, 1991) in their field.
the 1970s, the top ten journals were general journals.
the 1990s, half of the top ten journals were field journals.
you become more specialized, an increasingly smaller fraction of papers in
general journals become relevant to your research. Accordingly, demand
for general journals is likely to decline.
specialization is more likely in the future.
12. Keep a log of research papers
the first two or three years when the number of articles under review is
small, it is easy to remember the status of your papers. Later, as the
number of articles increases, a log will prove invaluable.
purpose of a log is to
when to send a reminder to the editor,
resubmission of a rejected paper to the same journal, unless of course,
it is your intention to resubmit the rejected paper to the same journal
(after a change of editors), and
multiple submission of several papers to the same journal within a short
period of time.
each paper, note the pool of potential journals.
a paper is rejected, do not lose time resubmitting the paper to another
a log of the life history of each paper.
13. Do not submit two papers to the same
journal in two months
if the two articles are related.
things being equal, editors prefer to publish two articles by different
authors, rather than two articles by the same author.
may submit more papers to the same journal simultaneously if there is
more than one editor. They do not often communicate with one another. In
this instance, acceptance of one article by one editor does not adversely
affect the chance of another being accepted by a different editor.
14. Check for related articles in the
journal being considered
to find some related articles in the journal to which you wish to submit
who published a paper on a related subject are likely to be referees. The
editor's memory is still fresh.
you need to say something about, or at least cite, their papers.
if they are marginally related, try to incorporate their references. Make
some effort to explain how your work is related.
15. Avoid the journals which consistently
reject your papers
you learned your lesson yet?
(temporarily) the journals which have rejected your papers consistently,
say three times in a row.
editor still remembers all those bad remarks about your papers.
until a new editor is appointed.
and middle names, as well as last name, often reveal the sex, race, or
nationality of the authors.
you have reason to believe that you are being discriminated against on
the basis of sex, race, or nationality, you may consider using initials
instead of spelling out the first and middle names.
may reveal your full name after the paper is accepted.
16. Use professional editorial assistance
if you are not a native English speaker
will not publish papers with grammatical errors.
- It is
safe to assume that referees are biased; they have an excuse to recommend
rejection when grammatical errors are detected.
can easily find a copy editor who charges a reasonable fee.
help is available in the English department of any university in the United
States or the United
Kingdom. If you live elsewhere, you
need to invest some time to develop friends located there. You may be
able to check and expedite the editing process through them.
17. Know the preferences or biases of
- If a
journal rarely publishes empirical papers, do not send one there.
if a journal rarely publishes theory papers, do not submit one there.
you suspect discrimination, check the past issues of the journal in
question. This will reveal surprising insights.
are known; biases are difficult to detect.
are three types of journals:
journals (AER, Econometrica, etc.)
journals, managed and edited by university faculty (QJE, JPE, etc.)
published by commercial publishers (Blackwell, North-Holland, etc.)
Problems of Journals
journals: Editors change every few years, and they tend to accept more
papers by colleagues and friends while they are at the helm. Since the
editors are chosen from among a few major institutions, they tend to get
a larger share of publications than under ideal academic conditions.
Subsidized by associations.
journals: Promoting truth and knowledge is not necessarily the
primary concern of these journals. The universities need to protect their
own interests. They should set a good example by announcing that their
editorial standards are not compromised to protect their own interests,
but do they have the courage? Subsidized by universities.
journals: To maximize profits they are least likely to have preferences
or biases. However, they cannot survive without reader subscriptions.
Clan Power and Publication
half of the papers published in some 40 high-ranked economic journals are
never cited by others (Holub, Tappeiner, and Eberharter, SEJ 1991).
Journals included in their studies were: AER, CJE, EJ, EER, IER, JDE,
JEL, JET, JMCB, JPE, JPubE, OEP, QJE, RES, REStat, SEJ, Econometrica,
Economica, and Economic Inquiry among others.
their referees would not cite these papers. This indicates that they did
not place a high value on the papers. Why would these referees then
recommend their publication?
finding suggests that in each field there may be small groups that exert
some influence by recommending publication of the papers by their clan
clan members, implicit or explicit, are rent seekers. They recommend
publication of their own papers at the expense of nonmembers.
effective way for a newcomer to beat the clans is to join them by
collaborating with a clan member.
double-blind review process tends to reduce the power of clan members.
with the double-blind review process, referees often know or guess the
identity of authors because papers are circulated prior to submission.
of working papers prior to acceptance effectively reveals the identity of
the author and increases the rent that accrues to clan members.
How long to wait for results
18. Contact the editor after six months
do not have an alarm clock that goes off for each paper after a certain
period of time has elapsed.
- If it
has been six months from the date of acknowledgment, you should contact
you are counting from the date of your submission, allow seven months.
that the editors of many top journals are older and lack computer skills.
So e-mail is not an option. If this is the case, write a polite letter.
you do not get a response within two months, send a second inquiry.
the editorial office or inquire via fax.
you still get no reply after a third inquiry, you should not submit a
paper to such a journal again.
e-mail inquiry is okay, if the editorial office is so equipped.
that e-mail inquiry is less formal and e-mail traffic is increasing.
messages are less reliable; they may not reach the editorial office.
© Kwan Choi, 1998-2002.