A method for the madness: An international survey of health professions education authors’ journal choice

Aqua Asif
Eliot L. Rees
Kevin W. Eva
Oliver Burton
Soort article
Original Research
Medical education,
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Introduction Scholarship is a key activity in health professions education (HPE). When disseminating scholarly work, how one selects the journal to which they submit is often argued to be a key determinant of subsequent success. To draw more evidence-based recommendations in this regard, we surveyed successful scholars working in HPE regarding their perspectives and experiences with journal selection.

Methods We conducted an international survey of HPE scholars, investigating their decisions regarding journal choice. Corresponding authors were identified from a sample of 4000 papers published in 2019 and 2020. They were invited via email with up to four reminders. We describe their experience and use principle component and regression analyses to identify factors associated with successful acceptance.

Results In total, 863 responses were received (24.7% response rate), 691 of which were included in our analyses. Two thirds of respondents had their manuscripts accepted at their first-choice journal with revisions required in 98% of cases. We identified six priority factors when choosing journals. In descending order of importance, they were: fit, impact, editorial reputation, speed of dissemination, breadth of dissemination, and guidance from others. Authors who prioritised fit higher and who selected a journal earlier were more likely to have their manuscripts accepted at their first-choice journal.

Discussion Based on our results we make three recommendations for authors when writing manuscripts: do not be disheartened by a revise decision, consider journal choice early in the research process, and use the fit between your manuscript and the journal as the main factor driving


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