People (including me) discuss and write a lot about what a high impact journal might look like, the democratisation of research publication, and if journal rankings are or should be relevant for research funding. That aside, here are some ideas which can motivate you to follow a process which could increase your chances of being published in worthwhile locations. I am grateful again to Anna Clemens whose insight has elaborated the first three ideas and to Niamh Brennan for her 100+ tips presented as the fifth point below.
You can either read this here or just scroll down.
High-impact journals look for studies that are (societally) relevant. They need to solve a big problem and have serious implications — either for an application or something more fundamental.
This could mean that findings are double-checked via different methods of analysis, via more than one model, under different conditions, based on more than one theoretical grounding or approach or from a highly reliable dataset which has been explored in new and methodologically reasoned ways, depending on your field of enquiry. You may need to include findings in one study which you would ordinarily have split up into several articles for submission to more specialised journals.
Given the massive range of journals in existence, please consider their stated aims and scope. While this might look obvious, these details for each journal may lead you to a better choice, all other things being equal. Of course, if you happen to know people on the editorial board, this may influence which journal you approach first, if the research paper lies within its general scope.
2. Tell the story of your research
This link might give some useful ideas about how to approach drawing a golden narrative thread when describing your research.
3. Visualise your data and present your results as easy to read
There are plenty of tools which might help you with this. You can find some suggestions here.
4. Make your abstract and cover letter sell the importance of your story.
Check out some ideas I presented in another blog
Some of these questions might help you to focus on where your research counts in the larger picture.
5. Follow the journal guidelines in every detail, one step at a time.
While this seems pretty obvious, it might help to copy and paste the journals’ suggestions as a checklist so that you stick to those guidelines exactly. Make sure you understand every detail of them. It would be a pity for their impression of your work to be upset just because of a slip in procedure.
Still looking for tips?
6. Choose from this list of over 100 tips