Have the “mega-journals” reached the limits to growth?

« A “mega-journal” is a new type of scientific journal that publishes freely accessible articles, which have been peer reviewed for scientific trustworthiness, but leaves it to the readers to decide which articles are of interest and importance to them. In the wake of the phenomenal success of PLOS ONE, several other publishers have recently started mega-journals. This article presents the evolution of mega-journals since 2010 in terms of article publication rates. The fastest growth seems to have ebbed out at around 35,000 annual articles for the 14 journals combined. Acceptance rates are in the range of 50–70%, and speed of publication is around 3–5 months. Common features in mega-journals are alternative impact metrics, easy reusability of figures and data, post-publication discussions and portable reviews from other journals. »

URL :  Have the “mega-journals” reached the limits to growth?

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.981

A survey of authors publishing in four megajournals

« Aim. To determine the characteristics of megajournal authors, the nature of the manuscripts they are submitting to these journals, factors influencing their decision to publish in a megajournal, sources of funding for article processing charges (APCs) or other fees and their likelihood of submitting to a megajournal in the future.

Methods. Web-based survey of 2,128 authors who recently published in BMJ Open, PeerJ, PLOS ONE or SAGE Open.

Results. The response rate ranged from 26% for BMJ Open to 47% for SAGE Open. The authors were international, largely academics who had recently published in both subscription and Open Access (OA) journals. Across journals about 25% of the articles were preliminary findings and just under half were resubmissions of manuscripts rejected by other journals. Editors from other BMJ journals and perhaps to a lesser extent SAGE and PLOS journals appear to be encouraging authors to submit manuscripts that were rejected by the editor’s journals to a megajournal published by the same publisher. Quality of the journal and speed of the review process were important factors across all four journals. Impact factor was important for PLOS ONE authors but less so for BMJ Open authors, which also has an impact factor. The review criteria and the fact the journal was OA were other significant factors particularly important for PeerJ authors. The reputation of the publisher was an important factor for SAGE Open and BMJ Open. About half of PLOS ONE and around a third of BMJ Open and PeerJ authors used grant funding for publishing charges while only about 10% of SAGE Open used grant funding for publication charges. Around 60% of SAGE Open and 32% of PeerJ authors self-funded their publication fees however the fees are modest for these journals. The majority of authors from all 4 journals were pleased with their experience and indicated they were likely to submit to the same or similar journal in the future.

Conclusions. Megajournals are drawing an international group of authors who tend to be experienced academics. They are choosing to publish in megajournals for a variety of reasons but most seem to value the quality of the journal and the speed of the review/publication process. Having a broad scope was not a key factor for most authors though being OA was important for PeerJ and SAGE Open authors. Most authors appeared pleased with the experience and indicated they are likely to submit future manuscripts to the same or similar megajournal which seems to suggest these journals will continue to grow in popularity. »

URL : A survey of authors publishing in four megajournals
Alternative URL : https://peerj.com/articles/365/

Multidimensional Journal Evaluation of PLOS ONE PLOS

« PLOS ONE (formerly PLoS ONE) is an international open access online journal published by the Public Library of Science. The periodical covers all science and medicine categories and has published as many as 28,852 documents from 2007 to 2011. PLOS ONE will be used to show the range of journal metrics and informetric methods regarding validity, practicability and informative value. To assess this data as specifically as possible and to address all relevant factors, the evaluation is split into five dimensions, each of which involves distinct metrics. The five dimensions are journal output, journal content, journal perception, journal citations and journal management. Each of them is pointed out in the process of the analyses, and all significant evaluation results are presented. The results show that PLOS ONE has experienced an enormous development. Because of a relatively low rejection rate of 31%, its openness towards a multitude of different research areas, an internationally large peer review community, and its open access, a plurality of documents can be published in comparison with a print-journal or other online periodicals. The results of the evaluation indicate that PLOS ONE should be assessed from numerous perspectives because there are a variety of indicators beyond the impact factor that can be made use of in order to evaluate exhaustively the standing of the journal as well as its prestige and impact. »

URL : http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/libr.2013.63.issue-4/libri-2013-0021/libri-2013-0021.xml?format=INT