Paper submission: Pre-submision check

Publish or Perish tutorial

Note: This tutorial was originally written for Publish or Perish v4 and all screenshots come from this version. However, the information as such is also applicable for later versions of Publish or Perish.

Before submitting to a journal, use Publish or Perish to find out whether the journal you intend to submit to has published any (recent) relevant papers on your topic. You might have missed them whilst you were working hard on the final version of your paper.

Don't annoy the journal editor

There are few things that annoy a journal editor more than to receive a paper for their journal that neglects to refer to relevant papers in the journal in question. I am not talking here about the practice of the less scrupulous amongst the journal editors: asking you to cite papers from their own journal simply to increase their journal’s ISI Journal Impact Factor.

Not acknowledging conversation partners is rude

However, journal editors are rightly annoyed if you have failed to incorporate relevant prior papers from their journal. By publishing in a certain journal, you are contributing to a conversation. Not acknowledging the other conversation partners is plain rude. So how do you do a final check to establish that you haven’t missed any highly relevant papers in the journal you are targeting? You could browse tables of contents on the web or in the library. However, Publish or Perish offers a much quicker way.

Worked example: Entry modes of Japanese MNCs

Let’s assume you have written a paper about entry mode choice (the choice between different ways to enter a foreign market) of Japanese multinational companies and intend to submit to Journal of International Business Studies.

Use General citation search with "The phrase" and "Publication" fields

Simply search for the term entry mode in the The phrase field of the General citation search with “Journal of International Business Studies” in the Publication field. This will provide any articles in which the words entry mode appear in that particular order. If this search provides you with too many results to cope with, you can narrow down your search by clicking the Title words only box. The screenshot below provides all articles that have been published in Journal of International Business Studies since its inception in 1970 that have entry mode in their title, sorted by number of citations.


Continued interest in this topic in the last 25 years

As you can see the topic of entry modes has generated continued interest from international business scholars in the last 25 years. There is even a discussion going on in the journal as to whether more research on entry mode is needed, something you might like to refer to in your paper.

Quick and easy vs. less restrictive search

This is a very quick and easy way to ensure that you haven’t missed any papers that might be crucial to your topic. However, it does not allow you to find papers that might provide important insights on entry mode choice, but do not list the words in their title. Hence, you might wish to do a less restrictive search as well and at least eyeball the results. If a less restrictive search provides you with too many results you can also choose to add additional keywords (e.g. Japan, greenfield) that need to occur in the article.

No papers at all?

If your search finds that the journal you intend to submit your paper to has never published anything on the topic of your paper or has last published something more than a decade ago, you might wish to reconsider your choice. Remember: You wanting to submit to the journal, because it is the top-ranked journal in your field, is not a good enough reason!

Not an easy way to get a paper accepted

Of course there can be very good reasons to want to introduce a particular stream of research to a new audience, but realize that this is not usually an easy way to get your paper accepted. Academics (and people in general) often find it difficult to relate to ideas that have no connection at all to their knowledge base.

Reviewers and readers might not be able to evaluate your paper's merits

If there is no prior published work on your topic in the journal, reviewers of the journal might not be familiar with this field and might not be able to evaluate its merits. It might also mean that the readers of the journal might not be interested in reading your work, even if it should get accepted. Maybe it is a sign you should take a step back and examine which journals publish on your topic?

Support Publish or Perish

The development of the Publish or Perish software is a volunteering effort that has been ongoing since 2006. Download and use of Publish or Perish is and will remain free (gratis), but your support toward the costs of hosting, bandwidth, and software development are appreciated. Your support helps further development of Publish or Perish for new data sources and additional features.


PS: If you are using Publish or Perish on a regular basis, please take 5 minutes to provide me with some feedback.