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.
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.
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.
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.
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