Q: Can I publish a paper on a topic that lacks novelty?

Detailed Question -

I had worked on a project where I had to develop an eye vision controlled wheelchair using labVIEW. I was thinking of publishing my work in a journal but when I searched for journal articles related to the topic, I found lots of existing work related to the same topic. Should I publish my work? If yes, could you recommend some journals that might be interested in this field?

1 Answer to this question

Novelty is a very important aspect of research. Most journals would look for some novelty in articles that they publish. However, having said that, any topic that you search for yield some published articles. Therefore, just the fact that there are related articles on the topic of your research should not deter you from publishing your article.

What you need to do is read these related articles that you have found. This will help you understand what is known about the topic and what are the gaps in knowledge that still need to be clarified. Try to find out if the work you have done addresses some of these gaps. You can accordingly try to present such an angle in your article.

Even after this, if you feel your study lacks novelty, there is no harm in trying to publish it. Once your manuscript is ready, shortlist a few target journals in your field. Visit the websites of these journals and find out the turnaround time and the peer review time for each journal. Select two or three journals that have a comparatively shorter peer review time and send out pre-submission inquiries to the editor of each, briefly explaining what your research is about and asking if they would be interested in publishing such a study.

Most editors encourage authors to send in pre-submission inquiries as it ensures that neither the journal's nor the author's time is wasted. If an editor sees value in your study, he/she will definitely get back to you.

You might also like to watch this video on selecting a target journal for your manuscript.

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