Academic journals, like universities, gain prestige by refusal. The smaller the number of applicants you admit onto your pages, the greater your glory. With logic worthy of Charles Dodgson, then, I present the most prestigious academic journal in the universe: The Journal of Universal Rejection.
Ivan Oransky, of the ever-useful Retraction Watch blog, brought word of the JofUR to the wide world. Here, Oransky interviews the journal’s founder, Caleb Emmons, who turns out to be a rather Dodgson-like mathematician.
“Although the first issue appeared in March 2009,” Emmons explains, “I did not dream up the JofUR until one rainy day in November 2010 as I was riding the bus home and thinking about middle school.” Submission is easy: “Your manuscript may be formatted however you wish. Frankly, we don’t care.” Why make the effort, when, as the website says, “all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected”? Well, the journal’s “impact factor” (number of articles cited divided by number of articles published) is, Emmons proudly notes, “about as close to infinity as any real number.”
The Journal of Irreproducible Resultsmay be more wide-ranging, and Oransky has also turned up something called The Journal of Are You Fucking Kidding, which is devoted to interesting meta-analyses of published work (in goes your paper, out comes “are you … etc”). But for logical purity, these can’t hold a candle to the JofUR.
Maybe there’s a similar niche outside academia, for the so-called general-interest reader. Why spend precious time deciding to skip worthy works of journalism, when the editors of Noweek have done it for you? Here at Nullington Post, we promise we’ve answered every single pitch, proposal and trial balloon by saying “thanks, but it doesn’t quite work for us.” If I should ever develop this idea, there’s only one publication to which I’d consider sending it.