Acceptance rates of scholarly peer-reviewed journals: A literature survey

Author : Bo-Christer Bjórk

The acceptance rate of scholarly journals is an important selection criterion for authors choosing where to submit their manuscripts. Unfortunately, information about the acceptance (or rejection rates) of individual journals is seldom available.

This article surveys available systematic information and studies of acceptance rates. The overall global average is around 35-40%. There are significant differences between fields of science, with biomedicine having higher acceptance rates compared to for instance the social sciences.

Open access journals usually have higher acceptance rates than subscription journals, and this is particularly true for so-called OA mega-journals, which have peer review criteria focusing on sound science only.

URL : https://recyt.fecyt.es/index.php/EPI/article/view/epi.2019.jul.07

Scholarly journals in building and civil engineering – the big picture and current impact of open access

Author : Bo-Christer Björk

The publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals has in the past 20 years moved from print to primarily digital publishing, but the subscription-based revenue model is still dominant.

This means that the additional benefits of open access to all scholarly articles still remains a vision, despite some progress. A selection of 72 leading journals in building & construction was studied, in order to determine the current status in this subfield of engineering. Of the approximately 9,500 articles published yearly in these, only some 5,6 % are in the 11 full OA journals included, and a couple of percentage more are paid OA articles in hybrid journals.

In most of the OA journals publishing is free for the authors. In terms of OA maturity, the field lags far behind the situation across all sciences, where at least 15 % of articles are in full OA journals.

If OA is to become more important in our field, the growth is likely to come from major publishers starting new journals funded by author payments (APCs) or converting existing hybrid journals once they have reached a critical share of paid OA articles.

URL : Scholarly journals in building and civil engineering – the big picture and current impact of open access

Alternative location : https://itcon.org/paper/2018/19

Evolution of the scholarly mega-journal, 2006–2017

 Author : Bo-Christer Björk

Mega-journals are a new kind of scholarly journal made possible by electronic publishing. They are open access (OA) and funded by charges, which authors pay for the publishing services. What distinguishes mega-journals from other OA journals is, in particular, a peer review focusing only on scientific trustworthiness.

The journals can easily publish thousands of articles per year and there is no need to filter articles due to restricted slots in the publishing schedule. This study updates some earlier longitudinal studies of the evolution of mega-journals and their publication volumes.

After very rapid growth in 2010–2013, the increase in overall article volumes has slowed down. Mega-journals are also increasingly dependent for sustained growth on Chinese authors, who now contribute 25% of all articles in such journals.

There has also been an internal shift in market shares. PLOS ONE, which totally dominated mega-journal publishing in the early years, currently publishes around one-third of all articles. Scientific Reports has grown rapidly since 2014 and is now the biggest journal.

URL : Evolution of the scholarly mega-journal, 2006–2017

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4357

Growth of hybrid open access, 2009–2016

Author : Bo-Christer Björk

Hybrid Open Access is an intermediate form of OA, where authors pay scholarly publishers to make articles freely accessible within journals, in which reading the content otherwise requires a subscription or pay-per-view.

Major scholarly publishers have in recent years started providing the hybrid option for the vast majority of their journals. Since the uptake usually has been low per journal and scattered over thousands of journals, it has been very difficult to obtain an overview of how common hybrid articles are.

This study, using the results of earlier studies as well as a variety of methods, measures the evolution of hybrid OA over time. The number of journals offering the hybrid option has increased from around 2,000 in 2009 to almost 10,000 in 2016.

The number of individual articles has in the same period grown from an estimated 8,000 in 2009 to 45,000 in 2016. The growth in article numbers has clearly increased since 2014, after some major research funders in Europe started to introduce new centralized payment schemes for the article processing charges (APCs).

URL : Growth of hybrid open access, 2009–2016

Alternative location : https://peerj.com/articles/3878/

Scholarly journal publishing in transition – from restricted to open access

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk

While the business models used in most segments of the media industry have been profoundly changed by the Internet surprisingly little has changed in the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals. Electronic delivery has become the norm, but the same publishers as before are still dominating the market, selling content to subscribers.

This article asks the question why Open Access (OA) to the output of mainly publicly funded research hasn’t yet become the mainstream business model. OA implies a reversal of revenue logic from readers paying for content to authors paying for dissemination via universal free access.

The current situation is analyzed using Porter’s five forces model. The analysis demonstrates a lack of competitive pressure in this industry, leading to so high profit levels of the leading publishers that they have not yet felt a strong need to change the way they operate.

OA funded by article publishing charges (APCs) might nevertheless start rapidly becoming more common. The driving force currently consists of the public research funders and administrations in Europe, which are pushing for OA by starting dedicated funds for paying the APCs of authors from the respective countries.

This has in turn lead to a situation in which publishers have introduced “big deals” involving the bundling of (a) subscription to all their  journals, (b) APCs for their hybrid journals and (c) in the future also APCs to their full OA journals.

This appears to be a relatively risk free strategy for the publishers in question to retain their dominance of the market and high profit levels also in the future.

URL : http://www.openaccesspublishing.org/Landscape%20Green%20versionacr.pdf

How subscription-based scholarly journals can convert to open access: A review of approaches

Authors : Mikael Laakso, David Solomon, Bo-Christer Björk

This article reviews the ways through which subscription-based scholarly journals have converted to open access. The methodology included a comprehensive literature review of both published and ‘grey’ literature, such as blog posts and press releases.

Eight interviews were also conducted with stakeholders representing different parts of the scholarly publishing landscape. Strategies of conversion for different types of journals are presented at multiple levels (publishers, national, research funders, organizational, and so on).

The identified scenarios are split into two main categories, those that rely heavily on article processing charges and those that can operate without relying on author-side financing.

Despite there being interesting and important shared traits among many converted journals, individual circumstances largely dictate what options for conversion are viable for a journal. There is no single solution that works for every journal but rather a broad selection of different solutions, among which selection should be well informed.

URL : How subscription-based scholarly journals can convert to open access: A review of approaches

Alternative location : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/leap.1056/full