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Best times to submit articles and other ideas

Started by Myword, April 22, 2023, 03:18:46 PM

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Are there preferred times of year to send out articles to journals? Is it possible to guess? Clearly, not after Thanksgiving, but i have done this. The articles wait until next year. You would think summer is a good time but faculty reviewers may take the summer off from all work.
  April or May should be good. Maybe it doesn't matter to you, but I'd rather keep my paper rather than send it off and wait too long.
I am waiting six months for one now. I am in humanities, abstractly.

Rather than get a desk rejection, I have written brief queries to editors to see if they have an interest in my submission. Do you? This is customary in popular magazines. If editor is not interested, then it's only a quasi-rejection--a priori. Sometimes they don't respond at all which impolitely means NO. An affirmative may still result in rejection I found. I  believe that editors look for reasons to turn down submissions


No, there is no best time. The best time is as soon as they are done.

And don't query ahead of time to see if they're interested. Academic journals are completely unlike popular publications. They are actively looking for good, suitable pieces for the journal. A lot of what they get is, to put it politely, not yet ready for primetime. But they are not looking for reasons to turn submissions down. They want good submissions that will reflect well on their publication. That's the long and the short of it. They have no secret agenda.


I agree. Just submit it when you are done with it. Even if its delayed, so what? What are you going to do, delay yourself until the perfect time to submit?


It is probably true that there are some times of year when journals are more overwhelmed with submissions or when reviewers are more likely to ignore emails, but imo it would be a big mistake to hold off on submitting. Just send it out and get to work on the next one.

(And don't query the editor.)


I try not to submit stuff around the Christmas holidays, because I suspect referees are particularly unresponsive at that time. Otherwise, I just send it when it's ready.
I know it's a genus.


I hate waiting--for everything. I get nervous, obsessive, so that's why I ask and occasionally query, so my time isn't wasted. (Didn't Mamselle pass before her article was published?) My latest article I feel strongly about and has been desk rejected many times, and by query twice. I try not to take it personally-- though editors can look me up easily. I am unemployed, so no academic affiliations. This article is very original and does not easily fit into the scope of journals out there. I knew that when I wrote it with passion. A hybrid theory of theory.
     When acceptance rates are from 8% to 30% editors can be as choosy as they need to be. That's a fact. The over supply of manuscripts means that major screening must be done. I don't envy the job.
Sometimes it is subjective. I laughed when the winner of a contest was titled "Please Like this Paper". One journal published an article which argued that philosophy is an academic discipline. Well, I sure hope so!  No joke.
      Excuse moi. This is my only outlet for this rant.


I once saw a plot of journal submissions by month from a major publisher. I don't recall exactly but I think maybe there was a rise in winter and fall in summer.

But I'm with the others, just submit as soon as it is done. Even if this process gives you anxiety and irritation, it seems unhelpful to delay because you might have some of that during the delay period + all the rest after submitting.


The best time to submit an article is when you are ready to submit it. For me this means, it covers all the ground I think it should cover, and I have run out of things to do to modify it.

I am sure there are better and worse times on the calendar for an editor to receive a draft. However, this probably is different with different editors. And in any case, I cannot calibrate my own writing to the calendar. If I need the weekend after Thanksgiving to do a final push on the m.s., then I need the time.

[One possible exception: if submission is by email instead of uploading the m.s., I might not submit at a time when I doubt the editor will be checking email, so instead of Thanksgiving Thursday I might wait till Monday morning. But most journals involve uploading to some system, and I assume the editor regularly checks for new submissions, so if you want to upload it on Thanksgiving, more power to you.]

Quote from: Myword on April 22, 2023, 03:18:46 PM
I'd rather keep my paper rather than send it off and wait too long.
I do not understand this. First it is impossible to know if you will have to wait. Second, the only sure thing is that if you do not submit an article it will not be accepted. Third, if I am going to have wait X time, I would rather do with the article in the queue for review. I tend to work on an article, submit it, and then move onto another article. Some journals seem to take forever (one took 16 months to make a decision, another is going on a year with no decision). Since I now have tenure, I don't get really stressed over this, but I do try to keep track. If I get a rejection, I just send it to another journal (with or without revisions, depending).

Regarding querying an editor: I will only do this if there is something out of the ordinary about the article. For example, it has been published in another language; it would be a two-part article;  it is an excerpt from a published book. I did once query an editor at a Canadian journal about an article that dealt with the U.S., asking if they would consider it. The editor was enthusiastic, I submitted it,  and the reviewers rejected it because it was about the U.S. and not Canada. (It is more complicated, but that's the short version.) So the query was not particularly useful. So I tend to not write to editors, and instead just send an article off. If it gets rejected, I will send it elsewhere.


Quote from: Myword on April 22, 2023, 03:18:46 PM
I'd rather keep my paper rather than send it off and wait too long.

This point of view is really counterproductive. If you finish it on December 1, but wait until February 1 to send it out, you're waiting two months no matter who has the manuscript. But the likeliest scenario is that it will take a certain amount of time to get an answer. Let's say 8 months. So if you wait to send it out, you're just delaying the start of the clock. You could send it out in December and wait 8 months, and get an answer in July, or you could wait until February and send it out, and get an answer in September. I suppose if you're not hoping for tenure or promotion, it doesn't matter. In which case you could ensure that you won't spend any time waiting for journals to reply, by not sending it out at all.