Publishing speed and acceptance rates of open access megajournals | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look at two particular aspects of open access megajournals, a new type of scholarly journals. Such journals only review for scientific soundness and leave the judgment of scientific impact to the readers. The two leading journals currently each publish more than 20,000 articles per year. The publishing speed of such journals and acceptance rates of such journals are the topics of the study.

Design/methodology/approach

Submission, acceptance and publication dates for a sample of articles in 12 megajournals were manually extracted from the articles. Information about acceptance rates was obtained using web searches of journal home pages, editorials, blogs, etc.

Findings

The time from submission to publication varies a lot, with engineering megajournals publishing much more rapidly. But on average it takes almost half a year to get published, particularly in the high-volume biomedical journals. As some of the journals have grown in publication volume, the average review time has increased by almost two months. Acceptance rates have slightly decreased over the past five years, and are now in the range of 50–55 percent.

Originality/value

This is the first empirical study of how long it takes to get published in megajournals and it highlights a clear increase of around two months in publishing. Currently, the review process in the biomedical megajournals takes as long as in regular more selective journals in the same fields. Possible explanations could be increasing difficulties in finding willing and motivated reviewers and in a higher share of submissions from developing countries.

Are mega-journals a publication outlet for lower quality research? A bibliometric analysis of Spanish authors in PLOS ONE | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

Open-access mega-journals (OAMJs), which apply a peer-review policy based solely on scientific soundness, elicit opposing views. Sceptical authors believe that OAMJs are simply an easy target to publish uninteresting papers that would not be accepted in more selective traditional journals. The purpose of this paper is to investigate any differences in scholars’ considerations of OAMJs by analysing the productivity and impact of Spanish authors in Biology and Medicine who publish in PLOS ONE.

Design/methodology/approach

Scopus was used to identify the most prolific Spanish authors in Biology and Medicine between 2013 and 2017 and to determine their publication patterns in PLOS ONE. Any differences in terms of citation impact between Spanish authors who publish frequently in PLOS ONE and the global Spanish output in Biology and Medicine were measured.

Findings

Results show a moderate correlation between the total number of articles published by prolific authors in Biology and Medicine and the number of articles they publish in PLOS ONE. Authors who publish frequently in PLOS ONE tend to publish more frequently than average in Quartile 1 and Top 10 per cent impact journals and their articles are more frequently cited than average too, suggesting that they do not submit to PLOS ONE for the purpose of gaining easier publication in a high-impact journal.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to one country, one OAMJ and one discipline and does not investigate whether authors select PLOS ONE for what they might regard as their lower quality research.

Originality/value

Very few studies have empirically addressed the implications of the soundness-based peer-review policy applied by OAMJs.

The Evolving Scholar

“The Evolving Scholar is an open access megajournal for multidisciplinary, community-driven and open peer-reviewed publications. The Evolving Scholar (ThES) is the result of the collaboration between TU Delft OPEN publishing and ORVIUM – a CERN spin-off in accelerating scientific publishing.  ThES is managed by members of the team of TU Delft OPEN, staff of the TU Delft Library and Orvium. The Project Team  does not make editorial decisions but can intervene in case of misconduct and conflict….”

JMIR – Two Decades of Research Using Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Claims Data: Bibliometric and Text Mining Analysis on PubMed | Sung | Journal of Medical Internet Research

Abstract:  Background: Studies using Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) claims data have expanded rapidly both in quantity and quality during the first decade following the first study published in 2000. However, some of these studies were criticized for being merely data-dredging studies rather than hypothesis-driven. In addition, the use of claims data without the explicit authorization from individual patients has incurred litigation.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate whether the research output during the second decade after the release of the NHI claims database continues growing, to explore how the emergence of open access mega journals (OAMJs) and lawsuit against the use of this database affect the research topics and publication volume and to discuss the underlying reasons.

Methods: PubMed was used to locate publications based on NHI claims data between 1996 and 2017. Concept extraction using MetaMap was employed to mine research topics from article titles. Research trends were analyzed from various aspects, including publication amount, journals, research topics and types, and cooperation between authors.

Results: A total of 4473 articles were identified. A rapid growth in publications was witnessed from 2000 to 2015, followed by a plateau. Diabetes, stroke, and dementia were the top 3 most popular research topics whereas statin therapy, metformin, and Chinese herbal medicine were the most investigated interventions. Approximately one-third of the articles were published in open access journals. Studies with two or more medical conditions, but without any intervention, were the most common study type. Studies of this type tended to be contributed by prolific authors and published in OAMJs.

Conclusions: The growth in publication volume during the second decade after the release of the NHI claims database was different from that during the first decade. OAMJs appeared to provide fertile soil for the rapid growth of research based on NHI claims data, in particular for those studies with two or medical conditions in the article title. A halt in the growth of publication volume was observed after the use of NHI claims data for research purposes had been restricted in response to legal controversy. More efforts are needed to improve the impact of knowledge gained from NHI claims data on medical decisions and policy making.

The Megajournal Lifecycle – The Scholarly Kitchen

“PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports have been very successful journals. Any publisher would be thankful to have them in their portfolio. Nonetheless, their unstable performance should also serve as a warning. In the year of their steepest decline, each journal shrunk by about 7,000 articles, which can translate to a loss of more than $10m year-on-year. That will reflect poorly on the balance sheet of any publisher.

The takeaways for publishers are simple:

Do not get carried away; the revenue of megajournals can be inconsistent, so avoid overselling their success to investors and avoid reckless investments
Invest heavily in marketing; if the journal is shedding 10% of citability every year, marketing should try plug this hole as well as possible
Build around their success; launch affiliated, higher impact journals that will absorb some of the eventual content loss
Do not put all your eggs in one basket; pursue a less risky, broad portfolio approach rather than a smaller, focused megajournal approach….”

JMIR – Celebrating 20 Years of Open Access and Innovation at JMIR Publications | Eysenbach | Journal of Medical Internet Research

Abstract:  In this 20th anniversary theme issue, we are celebrating how JMIR Publications, an innovative publisher deeply rooted in academia and created by scientists for scientists, pioneered the open access model, is advancing digital health research, is disrupting the scholarly publishing world, and is helping to empower patients. All this has been made possible by the disintermediating power of the internet. And we are not done innovating: Our new series of “superjournals,” called JMIRx, will provide a glimpse into what we see as the future and end goal in scholarly publishing: open science. In this model, the vast majority of papers will be published on preprint servers first, with “overlay” journals then competing to peer review and publish peer-reviewed “versions of record” of the best papers.

 

Motivations, understandings, and experiences of open?access mega?journal authors: Results of a large?scale survey – Wakeling – 2019 – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Open?access mega?journals (OAMJs) are characterized by their large scale, wide scope, open?access (OA) business model, and “soundness?only” peer review. The last of these controversially discounts the novelty, significance, and relevance of submitted articles and assesses only their “soundness.” This article reports the results of an international survey of authors (n = 11,883), comparing the responses of OAMJ authors with those of other OA and subscription journals, and drawing comparisons between different OAMJs. Strikingly, OAMJ authors showed a low understanding of soundness?only peer review: two?thirds believed OAMJs took into account novelty, significance, and relevance, although there were marked geographical variations. Author satisfaction with OAMJs, however, was high, with more than 80% of OAMJ authors saying they would publish again in the same journal, although there were variations by title, and levels were slightly lower than subscription journals (over 90%). Their reasons for choosing to publish in OAMJs included a wide variety of factors, not significantly different from reasons given by authors of other journals, with the most important including the quality of the journal and quality of peer review. About half of OAMJ articles had been submitted elsewhere before submission to the OAMJ with some evidence of a “cascade” of articles between journals from the same publisher.

Motivations, understandings, and experiences of open?access mega?journal authors: Results of a large?scale survey – Wakeling – 2019 – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Open?access mega?journals (OAMJs) are characterized by their large scale, wide scope, open?access (OA) business model, and “soundness?only” peer review. The last of these controversially discounts the novelty, significance, and relevance of submitted articles and assesses only their “soundness.” This article reports the results of an international survey of authors (n = 11,883), comparing the responses of OAMJ authors with those of other OA and subscription journals, and drawing comparisons between different OAMJs. Strikingly, OAMJ authors showed a low understanding of soundness?only peer review: two?thirds believed OAMJs took into account novelty, significance, and relevance, although there were marked geographical variations. Author satisfaction with OAMJs, however, was high, with more than 80% of OAMJ authors saying they would publish again in the same journal, although there were variations by title, and levels were slightly lower than subscription journals (over 90%). Their reasons for choosing to publish in OAMJs included a wide variety of factors, not significantly different from reasons given by authors of other journals, with the most important including the quality of the journal and quality of peer review. About half of OAMJ articles had been submitted elsewhere before submission to the OAMJ with some evidence of a “cascade” of articles between journals from the same publisher.

Dear eLife: please give us eLife ONE | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

I do see why some people think it’s desirable to have an OA alternative to Science and Nature. But I can’t understand at all why they won’t add a second, non-selective journal — an eLIFE ONE, if you will — and automatically propagate articles to it that are judged “sound but dull” at eLIFE proper (or eLIFE Gold, as they may want to rename it). Way back in I think 2012 I spoke separately to Randy Schekman and executive director Mark Patterson about this: both of them were completely uninterested then, and it seems that’s still the case.

This is why Mike Eisen’s appointment is such a surprise. In a recent interview regarding this appointment, he commented “Our addiction to high-impact factor journals poisons hiring and funding decisions, and distorts the research process” — which I agree with 100%. But then why has he taken on a role in a journal that perpetuates that addiction?

We can only hope that he plans to change it from within, and that eLife ONE is lurking just beyond the horizon….”

The value of a journal is the community it creates, not the papers it publishes | Impact of Social Sciences

“Initially PLOS ONE was a “club” of radicals who could afford to experiment with a new publishing model. This resulted in a higher than expected initial JIF and a massive influx of new authors, who were attracted to this (now) “proven” publishing model. Consequently, article processing times expanded (congestion), the initial sense of community became harder to maintain and the influx of articles ultimately reduced the JIF, leading to the flight of authors that were just seeking access to the prestige of the journal. The journal then shifted from a community (if not properly a knowledge club, as the disciplines were too disparate) to a social network market, which it could not sustain.

Scientific Reports follows a similar trajectory, but for different reasons. Initial submissions were not driven by a desire to be radical or progressive, as the concept of a mega-journal was already proven. Rather, Scientific Reports launched as a social network market, providing access to the prestige of the Nature brand. This model in turn became unsustainable, as the journal developed its own reputation and niche, which had been carefully planned through the naming (which does not include the name “Nature”) to avoid any dilution of the existing Nature brand.

 

What does this mean for Open Access and for initiatives like PlanS? Note that the club-theoretic model is ambivalent about how payments are made. We see similar patterns of growth and decline for subscription and APC journals alike. However the model is arguably better configured to understand how to create knowledge-value efficiently, because it asks how a community can be created and sustained, and how open access to membership can both stimulate and dilute knowledge-making itself. In our next post, we will discuss the implications of our model for planning a transition to full open access.”