This week, I present a question that some colleagues and I were discussing recently, based on a semi-hypothetical situation involving tenure-track faculty.
Imagine that you are in or near the final year of your probationary period; i.e., you are very close to being evaluated for tenure (or promotion in general, I suppose). You have reason to believe that you may not have enough publications, but you do have some unpublished results that you could write into a manuscript or refereed submission to a conference (depending on what is valued in your field).
[Or, if you are a senior faculty member advising a colleague who is in the situation described above, consider what you would recommend.]
Is it better to:
(a) submit to a non-selective publication venue or venues, gambling that the very existence of an additional publication or two is what matters most, no matter where they are published; or
(b) submit to a highly selective publication venue, gambling that the publication(s) will be accepted and that it's the prestige of the journal/conference that matters, not the number of publications; or
(c) do nothing, hoping that your colleagues, promotion & tenure committees, Deans etc. will be impressed with the quality of the existing work, even if the quantity is below the norms of your field.
Probably the best strategy would be a two-pronged attack of (a) + (b), as long as you aren't shingling and submitting the same paper to more than one place but really do have sufficient results/ideas to put into separate submissions of various types. The manuscripts do need to be (theoretically) publishable, substantive, and well-written (if possible) -- not just something tossed into the publishing maw in the hopes that someone will let it through and give you a least-publishable unit in time for your tenure review, so this discussion is based on the assumption that there is publishable material that can reasonable be put in the form of a manuscript or conference paper.
For either (a) or (b), you also have to give yourself enough time for the manuscripts to work their way through the review process: no one is going to be impressed with a manuscript listed as "in preparation" or "to be submitted to Journal on DATE" (my department/university ignores these completely), so you really do have to submit the thing(s). And even if you do submit before your tenure file is reviewed, that's of course not as good as having something accepted, or at least returned for revision (at the very least). Listing a manuscript as "Submitted to Nature, YESTERDAY'S DATE" might not impress others as much as you hope it will.
If your last-ditch strategy involves getting one or more peer-reviewed manuscripts through the review process on time and posted online so that it/they can officially be considered as "published", be sure to check on what the likely time-to-publication is. A colleague and I recently examined time-from-submission to time-to-publication (online) for various journals in our field, and the results varied a lot. I know that in some fields this is not so much of an issue, but in some corners of the physical sciences, the time-to-publication from first submission can vary from weeks to many (many) months.
I don't mean to completely ignore option (c). Perhaps your record really is good enough and you don't need to agonize between (a) and (b). In some cases, a few very high-quality papers are better than a pile of good but perhaps not-as-substantive papers. This is where a good mentor can provide guidance that is relevant to your institution and field.
And this might also be where commenters can provide some advice, especially if the academic field is mentioned in the comment.