Managing Editor’s Report for 2020/1

August 7, 2021

The Managing Editor’s Report for 2020/1 is available here. Some highlights include:

  • The 2-year impact factor rose to 3.894. This is 35% higher than 2019-20 (2.885) and 104% higher than 2018-9 (1.906)
    • Excluding self-citations, the impact factor is little changed at 3.840
    • Part of the increase is because Clarivate now includes Early Access articles. Excluding such articles, the impact factor would have been 3.298
    • The 5-year impact factor has increased from 3.066 to 4.653
  • The number of submissions reached a record of 978, up from 745 in 2019-20.
    • At the start of 2017, we announced strict top-three standards, a stringent desk-rejection policy and an increase in submission fees to reduce the number of left-tail submissions (and allow us to start paying referees). Submissions indeed dropped from 923 in 2016-7 to 704 in 2018-9. 2020-1 is the first time since that the RF exceeded the highest pre-2017 submission figures
    • The acceptance rate is 4.66%, marking the third successive year it has been below 5%. This suggests that quality has been maintained despite the increase in submissions
    • The introduction of top-three standards in 2017 led to the number of accepted papers falling from 58 in 2016-7 to 28 in 2018-9 and the number of R&Rs falling from 87 to 43
    • The recent increase in submissions, combined with the constant high quality threshold, means that we accepted 40 papers in 2020-1 and issued 72 R&Rs
    • In 2016-17, we published 72 papers (around 12 per issue). In 2019-20, we published 34 (5-6 per issue). From March 2021, we increased this to 9 per issue, i.e. 54 per year
  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the mean turnaround time fell from 54 to 44 days, and the median fell slightly from 33 to 32
  • The mean number of revisions before acceptance or conditional acceptance fell slightly from 1.3 to 1.2.
  • One new metric that we have started to track is the regional breakdown of accepted papers. The proportion of papers from Asian authors rose from 2% in 2018-19 to 16% in 2020-1
    • For a paper with n coauthors, this calculation attributes 1/n papers to each author. For example, a paper with 2 US and 1 Asian author counts as 1/3 of a paper coauthored by an Asian author.