Preparing to Submit My First Academic Paper

I previously wrote about submitting a working paper to SSRN. I recently uploaded my second major revision and I am now looking around for a journal in which to publish. This article covers my decision process on journal prioritization.

Basically, I looked at a combination of four factors, in prioritized order:

  1. Acceptance rate multiplied by time to review. The goal here is to have a paper accepted within a year.
  2. Journal quality. Measured by Repec rank.
  3. Relevance. Measured by including the terms ‘education’ and ‘economics’ in the journal title.
  4. Median citation count.

Repec is public and I obtained acceptance rate, time to review, and median citation count with the wonderful Cabells Scholarly Analytics, provided through my university (GMU) library.

For relevant specialty journals, I considered journals with a turnaround time of up to 6 months, and I created a queue of up to two years. This is to cast a wide initial net, as I will narrow journals down from there and not actually plan on a two year queue. I then retroactively added The Journal of Economic Education into the queue, because I originally couldn’t locate information for it.

Non-specialty journals are higher ranked and harder to publish in. I created a queue for these as well, with 6 month turnaround time, and I also required double-digit acceptance rates. Then I decided I didn’t want to wait 6 months so I kept going through Repec rank 200 to find relevant double-digit acceptance rate journals.

  1. AER: Insights is my top-quality pick, because my paper is on the small side, but acceptance rates are currently unknown. If they are similar to AER they are super small.
    1. I don’t mind small acceptance rates if the turnaround time is quick, but AER had undefined turnaround time. AER: Insights, on the other hand, aims to get responses within 3 months, so I still might go for it though I don’t expect to get in.
  2. Specialty Journals.
    1. Economics of Education Review, Rank 106, 2-3 months time to review, 20% acceptance rate, 43 median mentions.
    2. Education Economics, 269, 3-6 months, 27% acceptance rate, 18.
    3. Education Finance and Policy, 317, but I consider it irrelevant.
    4. The Journal of Economic Education, 463, 3-6 months, 20%, 12.
    5. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 795, 2-3 months, 11%, 27.
    6. International Journal of Educational Development, 814, 2-3 months, 20%, 42.
    7. International Review of Economic Education, 903, other metrics unknown.
    8. Educational Studies, 925, 1-2 months, 40%, 20.
    9. Research in Higher Education, 1133, 2-3 months, 10%, 39.
    10. Higher Education Management and Policy, 1261, but I consider it irrelevant.
    11. Journal of Accounting Education, 1317, but I consider it irrelevant.
    12. International Review of Economics Education, 1338, 2-3 months, 30%, 14.
    13. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 1398, but I consider it irrelevant.
    14. Accounting Education, 1402, but I consider it irrelevant.
    15. International Journal of Education Economics and Development, 1435, 2-3 months, 22%, 3.
  3. Non-specialty Journals
    1. Journal of Public Economics, 19, 2-3 months, 10%, 43.
    2. Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 35, 3-6 months, 11-20%, 19.
    3. Experimental Economics, but I consider it irrelevant. Keep an eye out for a follow-up paper which uses experiments!
    4. Economics Letters, 50, 1-2 months, 23-24%, 15.
    5. Journal of Economic Surveys, 60, 3-6 months, 20%, 42.
    6. Oxford Economic Papers, 80, 3-5 months, 10%, 17.
    7. Economics Bulletin, 86, 1-2 months, 21-30%, 1.
    8. Economica, 93, 3-6 months, 15%. 14.
    9. Economic Inquiry, 103, 1-2 months, 14%, 14.
    10. Marketing Science, 125, 2-3 months, 15-16%, 65.
    11. Applied Economics, 126, 3-6 months, 25%, 12.
    12. The Journal of Economic History, 127, irrelevant, but I could easily write a follow-up paper which would be relevant there.
    13. Industrial and Corporate Change, 130, 2-3 months, 11-20%, 43.
    14. Journal of Economic Psychology, 132, 3-6 months, 20%, 44.
    15. Empirical Economics, 138, 1-2 months, 11-20%, 12.
    16. Journal of Human Capital, 156, 3-6 months, 10%, 19.
    17. The Journal of Economic Inequality, 157, 2-3 months, 10%, 24.
    18. Business Horizons, 164, 1-2 months, 10-15%, 55.
    19. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 173, 3-6 months, 15-20%, 21.
    20. Southern Economic Journal, 187, 3-6 months, 10%, 11.
    21. Explorations in Economic History, 198, irrelevant, but I could easily write a follow-up paper which would be relevant there.
    22. Applied Economics Letters, 233, 1-2 months, 24%, 9. Considered due to it’s mention in the related articles.

Great news! There are enough journals with high enough acceptance rates that I should be confident I can have a paper accepted within a year or two. 6 papers with an acceptance rate of 20% each means a roughly 75% chance of getting accepted. Allowing up to 3 months for review, 6 papers would go through in 18 months. We can choose to accept that time frame and up the quality, or reduce the time frame.

Here’s a short list from the above journals with 3 or less months of review time and 20% or higher acceptance, or two or less months of review time and 10% or higher review time:

  1. Economics Letters*
  2. Economics Bulletin
  3. Economic Inquiry
  4. Economics of Education Review*
  5. Empirical Economics
  6. Business Horizons*
  7. Applied Economics Letters
  8. International Journal of Educational Development
  9. Educational Studies*
  10. International Review of Economics Education

I will be considering all 10, and I will also be considering AER: Insights despite likely rejection, but I will be prioritizing those with an asterisk due to overall fit.

Related articles:

  1. https://blogs.worldbank.org/impactevaluations/10-journals-publishing-short-economics-paper
  2. https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=568
  3. https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/138103/how-is-the-first-letter-in-an-aer-paper-enlarged/138105
  4. https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/5808/publishing-similar-same-paper-twice-regarding-economics-letters-journal?rq=1
  5. https://academia.stackexchange.com/questions/11989/how-to-write-an-academic-paper-for-the-first-time?rq=1
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