The conflict between writing more and getting in the best journals

I was talking over Skype with a co-author today, and he remarked, "Well, if our paper does not make it in Journal X [our first target], perhaps we should submit to Journal Y?"

I replied, "It is very nice to be thinking ahead, but my papers always are accepted by the first journal I submit them to, so there is no need to worry."

While I was joking around and this isn't quite true, it is nearly so. And that got me thinking: A lot of people, upon hearing this, would conclude, "Gene, you're not shooting high enough: if you are always getting accepted by the first journal you submit to, there is a very good chance you could've been accepted by an even better journal if you had only tried there first."

I think this is probably true. But I have a very hard time acting on this advice; my attitude is always "Let's get the damn thing published and get on to writing something else." I find the idea of spending my time trotting a paper around a circuit of journals for several years soul crushing.

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