Ever wonder where to send your paper after it's been rejected from a journal?
The authors of a recent Science paper mapped the submission history of over 80,000 scientific articles published from 2006-2008 .
This monumental task allows tracking of the most likely flows of papers through journals.
The network map provides more than a guide to where to send your next rejected paper.
A few interesting results came out of this.
First, papers that had been rejected from another journal were cited more. Is this because papers were improved with further revisions? Or is it because papers that are likely to be the most interesting don't often fit into the neat model of a given journal's papers?
Second, resubmissions often went to journals with lower impact factors. No surprise there, but good to quantify.
Third, the proportion of papers published that had never been submitted elsewhere was similar across a range of impact factors of journals. The range was really narrow in the grand scheme of things.
Publishing is tricky. There is an immense amount of wasted effort trying to get papers published. Given that, journals and authors are reasonably efficient in many respects.
Flows of Research Manuscripts Among Scientific Journals Reveal Hidden Submission Patterns
V. Calcagno et al. Science 338, 1065 (2012)