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The reverse-journal-submission system

I’ve whined before in this space that some of my most important, innovative, and influential papers are really hard to get published. I’ll go through endless hassle with a journal or sometimes several journals until I find some place willing to publish. It’s just irritating.

I was thinking about this recently because a colleague and I just finished a paper that I love love love. But I can’t figure out where to submit it. This is a paper for which I would prefer the so-called reverse-journal-submission approach. Instead of sending the paper to journal after journal after journal, waiting years until an acceptance (recall that, unless you’re Bruno Frey, you’re not allowed to submit the same paper to multiple journals simultaneously), you post the paper on a public site, and then journals compete to see who gets to publish it. I think that system would work well with a paper like this which is offbeat but has a nontrivial chance of becoming highly influential.

P.S. Just to clarify: we’re still revising the paper, that’s why i haven’t posted it yet. When it’s done, I’ll post it on my webpage (maybe Arxiv too, but then I have to make a Latex version of it). But we’ll still want to publish it in a journal and reach the widest possible audience.


  1. Anonymous says:

    And the link to the paper?

    PS Completely unrelated but on a blog theme What is interesting is that they are using number crunching to detect misconduct. This could scale up….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why not just Arxiv it? Or publish on your webpage? Or…

  3. John Lastnamé says:

    C’mon, don’t be a tease! Arxiv or working-paper copy plz, k thnx

  4. Hadley says:

    Just post it, and then your readers can vote on where you should submit it ;)

  5. Jim Wolper says:

    I feel your pain…I’ve been trying to publish a paper I love for years; it draws connections between two disparate fields (neither of which is my nominal specialty). One editor returned it after less than an hour. But I am convinced that it is important work (seminar/colloquium audiences seem to agree) so I will persist.

    Yes, it’s on the arXiv…

  6. anon says:

    If you have tenure, and don’t need to inflate your CV, then just publish it yourself…

    Who the heck actually picks up a journal and reads it cover to cover nowadays? In my field the answer is “nobody”.

  7. Suhel says:

    Peerage of Science seems to do something similar to what you want. You submit a manuscript, it gets reviewed by a “community of peers”, and the editors of participating journals can track the progress of your manuscript and send you an offer to publish once it’s passed peer review.

  8. mike says:

    PLOS One?

    • Brian says:

      I do like the principles behind PLOS One, but I think it has undermined itself by being too broad-based in scope. I doubt that many people – outside of the biological sciences – scan its contents, so basically all a statistician would get from publishing there is being indexed in Web of Knowledge and SCOPUS. Which is obviously nice, but you’d get that from publishing in a mainstream stats journal – plus you’d get access to a dedicated readership.

  9. I’ll always throw my support behind David Hogg’s statement of arXiv! It’s also fascinating to hear how publishing works in other academic disciplines. The main astronomy journals in the US seem to (mostly) not cause the same monkey business of uncertainty for submitters. We’re still a small enough field, and perhaps as we grow we’ll get more picky… and perhaps that’s not a bad thing!