06 January 2006

Describing journals

As some of you might know, not all scientific journals are created equal. Some, like Science or Nature, are well known across the entire world, and their articles reach millions. Others, like the Journal of the Pharmacological Society of South-Central Los Angeles, have more narrow foci and restricted audiences. One thing that I've noticed is that scientists sometimes describe different journals almost in code. I've assembled a few observations to help people new to science determine what the description actually means.
If they say.... they really mean....
"It's one of the leading journals in the field."
("They accepted my last manuscript.")
"It's a good journal, but a bit picky sometimes."
("Sooner or later they'll take one of my papers.")
"They're a bit too narrowly focused."
("They rejected my paper without review.")
"Some of the reviewers there can be a little touchy sometimes."
("Four rounds of revisions is too much to take.")
"The lead time is a bit too long."
("Anybody know what happened to the manuscript I submitted in 1999?")

I'll be out of town for a few days, but feel free to add more in the comments.
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