Invited papers only: what to do?

Your paper is all planned out, nearly written. It is a short review that got better and better with the writing. Maybe it can go to a broader journal than planned. But when you check the instructions for the fancy new  journal, it turns out they only take invited papers for this category of paper. What to do?

Do not despair yet. All invited really means is that you should email the editor in charge of that section along with a compelling abstract and let her know why you think your paper would be a good addition. This may not always work, but will often enough that you should add it to the list of things you dare do. Also, it will bring your work to the attention of that editor and might inspire future invitations on related topics. After all, how we think of whom to invite is a complex, little understood process. Get yourself known.

Before you contact the editor, look hard at the kinds of things that journal publishes. Make sure you have a good fit. If they say no, you have made a new contact. If they say yes, you have a new place to publish. Just remember to avoid all those bogus free journals.

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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