I have this adorable little manuscript, you see. My PI, collaborator, and I all thought its findings were super exciting, and so we initially submitted it as a Brief Communication to a very fancy journal. Sadly, despite comments from reviewers that the paper was "extremely important" and "very novel," as well as the editor's admission that we could likely "adequately address all of the reviewers' minor concerns," the paper was rejected. Space issues or something? Harumph.
Disappointed by the rejection but encouraged by such a positive review, we tried next for a not quite as fancy but extremely well-respected journal. This time, the reviewers HATED it. Oh, they were so mean! So mean, in fact, that I quickly read the comments and then archived the email until after my 2nd faculty interview, lest my self-esteem plummet so hard as to make a bad impression with the hiring committee.
Now that the fate of this paper no longer affects my job hunt, I feel less pressure to get it into somewhere impressive, and more pressure just to get it out before I start applying for grants. There are several techniques in this paper that I haven't published before, and if I'm going to be proposing projects that involve these techniques, I imagine study sections will want to see that I actually, you know, have some experience with them?
So the big question, then, is where does this poor little paper go next? In the interest of getting it in press as soon as I can, part of me is inclined to let it go to a more specialized, next-tier-down journal, but my collaborator wants to try for another medium-high journal. I do love this paper and think it belongs somewhere solid; it's the work that largely informed this year's research plan in my job apps, and a higher-profile pub could be a nice boost as I start the next set of experiments in my own lab. But if we gamble and lose, what's the delay in publication time going to cost me in terms of meeting grant deadlines and feasibility-related scores?
I'm curious as to your thoughts, lovely readers. When do you decide it's best just to get a manuscript in print, fancy pubs be damned? Do you have a decision tree? If so, do you have a diagram of your decision tree? Can I see it?