General considerations

The first step to publishing a paper is determining your audience. This means the journal you target should reflect the type of readership your paper aims to reach. Further, within academia, diversifying your research outreach is a good strategy to improve your research profile. Therefore, it is good practice to publish in different journals to encompass a broader readership. There are no rules against publishing multiple papers in the same journal. However, journals will also be less likely to accept a paper on a similar topic to a previously published paper by the same author(s) because the content or message of the paper is unlikely to share the scope of the former paper. For example, your research project may be exploring the impact of more efficient energy-saving technology on household energy budgets in built-up urban areas. The first paper may be on current energy-saving technology implemented in urban areas and highlighting where new technology is most needed. This paper would most likely be a review paper. The second paper could be on using economic models to project where this technology would be most beneficial to low-income households in urban areas. This could be either a technical or applied paper and thus may not share the scope of the journal that accepted the previous paper. Therefore, the second paper would be better suited to a methods-based or applied journal. Publishing future papers on different topics in a journal with which you already have published work is common and acceptable.

Practical example for Life Sciences

Within the life sciences, one common exception to publishing sequential papers in the same journal is when the research has multiple, complementary results that warrant splitting the paper into two papers. This is usually when there is too much relevant content for one standard paper. This can also happen following recommendations from peer reviewers. For example, your paper could explore changes in intertidal zone species composition as a result of climate change. The first paper could discuss significant results of species responding to changes in salinity levels, whereas the second paper could discuss responses to oxygen levels. Under these circumstances, the same journal is interested in publishing both papers and may choose to within the same volume as part of a series.

Practical example for Social Sciences

For those pursuing research-focussed careers it is often advisable to publish in a variety of locations. However, for those whose research covers a very small niche or has a very specific clinical focus, it is acceptable and often advisable to publish in the same journal or a small variety of journals, as this will improve the chances that the research will be read by the intended audience.

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