Posted by: Johan Normark | November 24, 2010

Publish in an archaeological or climate related journal?

Michael Smith at Publishing Archaeology recently wanted help in finding a journal where he could publish an article (he eventually found one). I have more or less the same problem with an article of mine. This article is critical of the drought related causes for the Maya collapse. It does not criticize the idea of droughts or collapse but it is sceptical of the methodology of projecting Colonial and modern correlations between droughts and demographic changes into the Prehispanic pasts. These methods neglect the changes that the Spaniards brought about. Apart from discussing Colonial changes to settlement strategies it provides data from fieldwork in southern Mexico. There is little to no use of “theoretical jargon”…

Should I strive to publish this in a Mesoamericanist journal, such as Ancient Mesoamerica (which has published climate related studies before), and therefore limit the results to those few Mayanists that find this kind of research of interest? Or should I attempt to publish it in a broader venue and reach a greater audience but perhaps few Mayanists? The reason why I ask this now is that I just got an invitation to send in an article to a new journal called nature climate change. I think I will go for a climate related journal but should I send it to a journal that has not yet released its first issue or should I send it to an established journal? If so, which one?



  1. My first thought would be to publish in an established journal that has published research on this topic before – such as papers by people of whom your new one is critical. I actually just discovered something new in my crater studies on Mars and have written up a quick paper and in trying to figure out where to submit it, I took a look at where the ones that have done the most related research have published before. Of course, then my advisor said I should write it for a different journal, so so much for that …

    I was reading your updated About page and my advice (at least that I’ll be probably following within the next few years) is to generally avoid a very new journal that does not have an established base nor reputation. This early in your career, I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to take that kind of gamble if you can get it accepted into one that is respected and has a relevant readership.

  2. Thanks for the input Stuart. Yes, I think that I will first try out a journal that has published palaeoclimate studies on the Maya area before. One such is “Climate Change” at Springer. My goal is always to aim for the highest and then, if rejected, go for the second best, etc.


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