The reasons why publishing has become faster
- Turnaround time is a key consideration during journal selection.
- The average time from manuscript submission to publication has reduced by 36 days in the last 10 years, mainly thanks to gains at the production stage.
A journal’s turnaround time (TAT), consisting of the peer review and production stages, is key to authors during journal selection, only outranked in importance by journal’s reputation, Impact Factor, and readership. A recent article written by Christos Petrou for The Scholarly Kitchen reports that the average TAT has become shorter in the last decade, putting rigour of the peer review process in question.
TAT decreased from 199 days in 2011/12 to 163 days in 2019/20, with the reduction seen primarily at the production stage (23 days) but also at peer review (14 days).
Petrou assessed over 700,000 randomly selected papers published in more than 10,000 journals owned by 10 of the largest publishers. He found that the TAT decreased from 199 days in 2011/12 to 163 days in 2019/20, with the reduction seen primarily at the production stage (23 days) but also at peer review (14 days). Petrou suggests that the gains at the production stage were caused by:
- shift to continuous online publishing model, whereby articles are posted as soon as they have completed production, ahead of their inclusion in a final print or online journal issue
- rise in early publication of pre-Version of Record articles (journal pre-proofs), which have yet to undergo copyediting, typesetting, and author corrections.
Of note, the acceleration of peer review was driven predominantly by 2 publishers, with the others showing a static or even deteriorating performance. Additional data from one of the two publishers with large gains in peer review speed demonstrated that high editorial standards could be maintained despite decreased TAT. This led Petrou to question whether the slow(ing) performance of other publishers could be the result of operational inefficiencies.
The article highlights the need for, and importance of, a central platform providing TAT metrics to help authors identify suitable journals for their publishing needs.
Leave a Reply