I wasn’t editor during the conversion to Wiley as the publisher of AGU journals, but I am told that there was some roughness in the transition. Specifically, the stories I have heard could be summed up with the assessment that the project to port all of AGU’s journal content to Wiley’s servers and format took more resources than expected. I have heard four main complaints about this transition: some things took a while to become available at the Wiley site, there were issues and concerns about format and ease of use, and, of particular grievance to authors, errors in the conversion to production format and delays in getting papers through the publication process from acceptance to “print.”
AGU and Wiley have been working closely together on the first two points, with regular releases of new websites for AGU journals (the latest just a couple weeks ago). I hope that you like the website format. They will keep tweaking it and, in fact, plan yet another website upgrade in the fall. If you have comments and suggestions, then please send them on and your ideas will be considered for subsequent releases.
As for the third point, I hope that it is better. I will have another post on this process in the near future.
This post is really about the fourth point: the timeliness of acceptance-to-publication. Look at this chart, which was shown to us at our recent editorial board meeting:
The x axis is the time it takes for a paper to go through the publication process from acceptance to early view “print” online at the Wiley site (binned by week), and the y axis is a histogram of paper counts (normalized to the peak value). The six rows of plots are for each month in the first half of 2014. All AGU journals are included in this chart. As you can see, the median time it takes to process a paper and get it moved from “in press” to “in print” was about a month at the beginning of the year and is now shifted to something under 3 weeks. I am told that the median time from acceptance to print actually exceeded 8 weeks for a while in 2013. Therefore, these are amazing histograms showing an outstanding improvement in workflow at Wiley.
Both with AGU and with other journals and publishers, I have had papers sit at the “in press” stage for months. Wiley is working very hard to get this turnaround time as short as possible, and their efforts are paying off. Yes, there is a long tail, as there will always be a few papers that need extra processing and extra time at this stage. Overall, though, papers are processed rather quickly now. Wiley has been very responsive in listening to our complaints and making the process and product acceptable to the AGU research community.