Like that title?
My post on environmental economics journal rankings launched an improbable and self-absorbed typing of some publication tidbits. This post isn't really a how-to and it is not much help if you need it ... the first instruction is to "write a great paper" ... the second is to ignore the temptation to send your paper to JEEM ... but I enjoyed typing it up.
For what it is worth, here is my typical publication strategy:
- Write a paper that I perceive is really, really great.
- Decide that JEEM would never publish it (it has now been more than 10 years [!] since I had a paper published in JEEM).*
- Remember my bad experience with AJAE** and mumble "screw them".
- Consider whether Land Econ might consider it (i.e., will Bromley remind me that it is only "mildly interesting"?). After bitching about a Land Econ rejection to a well-respected type at a conference, he noted that Land Econ is "a tough nut to crack."
- If not Land Econ, flip a coin and send to ERE*** or REE.
- If/when rejected at ERE or REE, send to the other and begin the series of communications with a higher being (i.e., prayers) who suspiciously looks like Kenneth Arrow.
When I write a paper that isn't so great I pursue a different strategy which I am not willing to share publicly.
Ever. At this point of my career. Okay, let's talk. If the paper is an application/replication I'll immediately send it to a journal in the List of Missing Journals (I love that Table title, I plan to use it often). In other words, I'm not going to let some punk anonymous referee who programs his/her own likelihood function tell me that I shouldn't have sent my paper to a 1st or 2nd tier journal when I knew that in the first place. Many of the not-so-prominent researchers will send a paper out to a journal where they know they have little chance of succeeding with the attitude that it doesn't hurt to try ... hello? opportunity cost?
*How to get a paper published in JEEM? Obviously, I have no friggin' idea. If you have an idea, other than take a sabbatical and develop some cutting edge skills, comments are open.
**Early on, I was in my late 20s/early 30s and probably really, really good-looking, I had a paper rejected after a lazy referee made the accusation that I had plagiarized myself. The editor denied my protest and the paper eventually landed in a journal listed above. Consider these facts:
- Two papers use the contingent valuation method.
- The application is to wetlands and surface coal mining in western Kentucky.
- Both papers consider "information effects".
- Two different data sets, one is a mail survey with a 31% response rate (my dissertation data), the other is a phone/mail survey conducted 2 years later with a much higher response rate.
- The 31% response rate paper considers the effect of information about temporal (reclaimed wetlands) and spatial (alternative wetlands) substitutes.
- The better data set paper considers information about different levels of resource quality.
Once you get past #1 and #2 the papers are as dis-similar as any others during the heady days of post-Valdez CVM. As a result I decided that, and I paraphrase, there's a lot more to life than being really, really good looking and I planned on finding out what that was.
***Here is one of my fav recent publication stories, edited down from the full version at Hypothetical bias.
The paper "Environmental Risk and Averting Behavior: Predictive Validity of Revealed and Stated Preference Data" was (finally) accepted for publication at Environmental and Resource Economics (unranked due to no data, I think, by the JEEA journal rankings paper). ...
In order to get the paper published I had to add a footnote:
One referee has reservations regarding the limitations of the data: “Generally, I do not think the context lends itself to addressing predictability of stated behavior. The dichotomous choice nature of the stated behavior is simplistic and the stated behavior following an actual event is problematic. The fact that respondents had prior experience with the choice during the ex ante survey period only magnifies the fact that respondents already had substantial familiarity and experience with this choice – a choice that is weighty and worth remembering. As the authors state, a comparison between stated and actual behavior is trivial if the choices are known. This is the case in this instance. The analysis is weak and any inference is dubious.” We attempt to address these concerns throughout the remainder of the paper.
This paper was rejected at the Journal of Environmentel Economics and Management (ranked #25) due to lukewarm peer reviews. In the rejection letter the JEEM editor helpfully added that maybe the paper would be more appropriate for the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty (ranked #38). The editor of JRU gave it a "desk rejection" (no reviews) stating that the topic wasn't really appropriate for the journal (hurricane evacuations aren't appropriate for a risk journal?) and that I should try JEEM! ...