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I submitted a paper to quite a low-rated journal a few months ago, partly because I didn't think that my results were particularly good, but also because I neglected to do much research into impact factor etc. After 5 months "with editor" it has now finally been sent to a referee, but I'm regretting choosing this journal, as I now think my paper is publishable in a much better journal, and I am at the point in my career (starting to look for my first post-doc position) where I really need some good additions to my publication record.

However, I also need publications in general, regardless of where they are published! And I'm not particularly keen on the idea of waiting however many more months for another journal to start reviewing the paper. So I'm not sure what to do. Now that someone is possibly taking the time to read it, would it be considered bad form to withdraw the paper, and submit it elsewhere? And is it worth the risk? How much emphasis is actually put on where your papers are published anyway?

Finally, is it feasible to wait until the review comes back, and (assuming it is actually favourable!) then touch up the paper and submit it elsewhere?

Any advice much appreciated.

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I don't think this is the place for this sort of question. –  David Mitra Nov 29 '11 at 17:29
You might try asking at the forums at chronicle.com –  David Mitra Nov 29 '11 at 17:34
Or you could try mathoverflow. –  user1729 Nov 29 '11 at 17:36
Maybe this is something you should have thought about before actually submitting the paper :) –  Listing Nov 29 '11 at 17:39
If your paper was sent to referee, who will go through it and write his opinion and then you decide not to publish it in that journal, I find it very impolite - you're wasting the time of the referee. No matter whether you consider journal high- or low-profile, refereeing an article needs time and lots of effort. –  Martin Sleziak Nov 29 '11 at 17:48
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closed as off topic by David Mitra, Asaf Karagila, Arturo Magidin, Austin Mohr, Rasmus Nov 29 '11 at 20:59

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