Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 38:

“I’m an independent scholar, and I’m afraid that once a journal sees that I’m not affiliated, they will automatically reject my article.”

It’s true that a few journals in a few fields might reject your article on this basis.

But this is most likely to happen at extremely prestigious, very snobby, niche field journals. And you shouldn’t be supporting them by submitting your work to them anyway! Big disciplinary journals and association journals cannot afford to do so, as they are being closely watched. And smaller journals cannot afford to reject good work.  

We know that journal editors do publish independent scholars since some of the most important articles of the past sixty years were published by those without affiliations. Further, fields with relations to industry, like computer science or design, frequently publish independent scholars.

Meanwhile, any editor who admitted that they were not accepting articles on this basis would be condemned as not just unethical, but an idiot. Journal rank depends on publishing strong articles, so any good journal will value quality above everything else. 

Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 38, one of the resource obstacles listed on page 32 of Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (University of Chicago Press, 2019).