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Shared burden is always lighter - Peer-review performance in an ophthalmological journal 2010-2020
Section for Ophthalmology, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1504-8395
2021 (English)In: Acta Ophthalmologica, ISSN 1755-375X, E-ISSN 1755-3768Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Purpose

There are concerns in the academic publishing community that it is becoming more difficult to secure reviews for scientific manuscripts. This study examines trends in editorial and peer review processes in an ophthalmological journal over the last decade.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed of editorial data from the journal Acta Ophthalmologica containing all manuscript submissions between 2010 and 2020.

Results

The number of yearly submissions grew between 2010 and 2019 from 1014 to 1623, and in 2020, the number of submissions increased to 2449. In total, the number of submissions increased by 142% between 2010 and 2020. Similarly, the proportion of desk-rejected manuscripts increased from 48% to 67% during the period 2010–2020. The number of invitations needed to obtain one review showed an increase from 1.9 to 2.6 between 2010 and 2019, but remained stable between 2019 and 2020. However, the number of reviewers per reviewed manuscript, reviewed manuscripts per reviewer and time from invitation to completed review assignment remained almost constant between 2010 and 2020. Researchers based in North American were disproportionally often invited to review (18%) compared to their share of published articles (7%), and they also declined review invitation more frequently compared to scholars in other parts of the world.

Conclusions

The study revealed an increase in submitted manuscripts to an ophthalmological journal over the last decade, with a further increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of reviewer invitations needed to obtain one review grew during the study period but remained constant between 2019 and 2020, despite a vast increase in submitted manuscripts. Hence, the burden for unique reviewers did not increase. Instead, the proportion of desk-rejected manuscripts grew, and the reviewer pool expanded, which allowed the annual average number of reviews by individual reviewers to remain stable. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021.
Keywords [en]
reviewers, academic journal, reviewer fatigue, scholarly communication, authorship, editorial boards, pandemic, peer review, desk rejection
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-26720DOI: 10.1111/aos.15033ISI: 000703388100001PubMedID: 34608758Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85116309109OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-26720DiVA, id: diva2:1602438
Available from: 2021-10-12 Created: 2021-10-12 Last updated: 2021-10-21

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Hammarfelt, Björn

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