Pros and Cons of Publishing in Low-tier Journals

Publishing in low-tier journals (in case they are not predatory journals) is not bad, however, it is risky. In a low-tier journal, it is less likely for you to receive high-quality reviewer suggestions to improve your manuscript. In addition, there is less chance for your work to be found and read by those who should read it.

Researchers often have several strategies for finding the papers that they should read. Normally, they have a list of a few high-caliber journals that they always scan with the emergence of the latest articles or issues. They also search a few keywords for specific topics when undertaking a review of literature either before starting a new project or when they are drafting the results.

In case your paper is published in a low-tier journal, it is less likely to be found unless they are searched through keywords. If the number of relevant papers is high, scientists often will read those in high-tier journals first, believing them to be the highest-quality papers.

If your paper is not read, it might as well not have been conducted, and in case nobody cites it, it diminishes the strength of your academic resume. A prestigious publication on your CV will make it noticeable (regardless of citations) while having a low-tier publication on your CV will not do much for it (unless you mention that it has many citations).

The benefit of low-tier journals is that they are normally an easier way to have your research published. Therefore,  submission in a low-caliber journal that has a low rejection rate allows you to publish your work and get on with your next work rather than revising and re-writing a lot of work.

Now, why would someone want to publish in a lower-caliber journal when better journals exist?

The answer may be one or more of the followings:

  • Some institutions do not care at all about publications (rather they care about money and projects or specific works). If it is the case, the publication is a kind of show-off to keep a record of what the person did at that specific time, and any journal will do for this purpose.
  • Some institutions care about publications, though they do not mind the journal rank. In this case, you can simply publish in any journal you choose.
  • Some higher-ranked journals misuse their rank to ask for money, have a long review time, and the like). In such cases, the choice for lower rank is quite sensible.
  • Better journals are often more competitive. It is a common scenario for a paper that is rejected in high-rank journal X to end up in lower-rank journal Y.
  • Some people really don’t care about the “better” journal and the impact factor matter. They believe that it is a  mean way to keep academics in check and controlled by bureaucrats. Therefore, they do not restrict themselves and publish in any journal they want since once upon a time academia was defined by its freedom and they want to preserve their freedom.

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