We’re looking to publish an article soon, so I’ve been amused recently with science journals. When you’re looking at publishing in a journal, “impact factor” tends to run rampant, which is more or less determined by how much that journal gets cited. The more the better. Science and Nature, for example, have much higher impact factors than, say, the Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. The lower impact journals tend to be more niche, which is fantastic if you’re looking for references to a specific problem (maybe the effects of nori on flag football prowess?), but rarely have game-changing articles like “Cancer Cured in Primates” or “On the Synthesis of a True Invisibility Cloak.” Bottom line: Impact factor is your paved road to eternal glory and maybe your own Wikipedia entry.
So like I mentioned before, I’ve been thinking about this a bit because we’re looking to publish the work I did two years ago as an REU. The submission is pretty much all written, but now we’re debating on which journal to submit to (and be “we” I mean “mostly the grad student I was working with and his advisor”). After playing the impact factor game for a bit, we’re now at the point where we have a few potential journals to shoot for, and for now I’m staying out of it. I walked in on them just in time to hear, “Advanced Materials? I don’t know… it just doesn’t feel like an Advanced Materials paper.” At which point I realized that, while having read my fair share of articles, I probably couldn’t tell you what a journal feels like yet. Except the Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. That one’s a little sweaty.