Q: Do I have to cite all papers published by my target journal in my area of research?

Detailed Question -

When selecting a journal, do I have to cite all those in that journal who have already published in my area? Or, can I submit what I feel is the best representation of my thought without worrying about what this journal has to say about? What questions do editors of the journal ask before considering a paper for acceptance? What are the criteria to be met to get published in their journal?

1 Answer to this question

No, you definitely do not have to cite all the papers in your area of research published by the journal you wish to submit to. You should only cite papers that you feel are relevant and provide a clear idea about the existing level of knowledge on the topic. However, ensure that you do an exhaustive search and do not miss out on any relevant papers.

The primary concerns that editors have for considering a manuscript for publication would probably revolve around the overall quality and novelty of the study, whether it matches the scope of the journal, and whether the findings are of value to the target audience. Apart from this, editors would also like to ensure that ethical requirements have been met, potential conflicts of interest have been disclosed, and all other instructions mentioned in the journal’s guidelines for authors have been followed.  

There are no set criteria per se that would confirm publication in any journal. The criteria mentioned in the author guidelines would ensure that your paper is considered for publication. Once you submit your paper, it will go through an editorial screening, and if the editor sees some value in the paper, he will send it for peer review. The recommendations of the peer reviewers will guide the editor’s decision to accept or reject your manuscript.