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J R Soc Med. 2001 December; 94(12): 659.
PMCID: PMC1282325

Where shall we send our paper?

I applaud Dr Herxheimer's attempt to encourage authors to make a rational decision about where to send their scientific papers (October 2001, JRSM, p. 515). It will certainly be an improvement on the present method which (according to accounts given on our courses) is based on the principle of starting with the journal with the highest impact factor, and then working down. However, I am not sure that Herxheimer's model is the answer. He encourages authors to decide on the basis of where they want to publish; surely a more sensible solution is to decide, using all the available evidence, which journal is most likely to accept the article. Getting a paper published is essentially a sales activity, and the most effective sales people are those who consider the needs of the market rather than their own.

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