Author Survey Results

At the Fall AGU Meeting, there are several meetings, meals, and receptions that I get to (have to?) attend in the role of Editor in Chief. One of these is our JGR Space Physics business luncheon, at which we (the editors, associate editors, and several AGU staff) get together at a meeting room in the Marriott and talk about the state of the journal and brainstorm about future directions. This year, it was a very well-attended meal, with over 20 in attendance and requiring a few extra chairs to be brought in.

Some of the things we cover are some statistics about the journal for the year. Today, I’m sharing one of those statistics…from the author surveys. Actually, I have two numbers for you, one for “the production process” and the other for “the editorial process.” Many of you have probably received these surveys, because they are sent out soon after the final accept/reject decision. Most of the questions are on the 5-point Likert scale with a few open response questions.

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For the statement: “Average of overall satisfaction with the AGU publication process,” the mean score is 4.3. That is, for the most part, space physicists are quite satisfied with the production process for JGR Space Physics. I was very glad to learn this. While there are anecdotes about production horror stories, such problems seem to be very rare. Most of you are very happy with the AGU-Wiley partnership for getting the accepted papers into “print.”

For the statement: “Average of overall satisfaction with the AGU peer review process,” the mean score is 3.4. Hmm. This concerns me.

One explanation for this is that the question is asked of all authors, i.e., those of both accepted and rejected papers. I don’t have this statistic broken down by editorial decision outcome. The default for every author, of course, is that they think they have written a worthwhile paper that deserves to be published, otherwise they wouldn’t have written and submitted it. The editors and referees, therefore, are seen as obstacles. Anything less than a quick acceptance is likely to annoy the authors.

JGR Space Physics has an acceptance rate of roughly 70%. This is true not only for 2014 but also for the time-extent of the GEMS manuscript processing system, which is over a decade (back to 2002). Bad rating scores from 30% of respondents could be seriously deflating this statistic.

Similarly, it could also be skewed by the voluntary nature of the responses: perhaps those that are disgruntled with the system and want to voice a concern to AGU are more likely to fill out the survey. This could be part of it, too.

Interestingly, nearly all survey respondents, 96%, answered yes to the question, do you expect to submit other papers to JGR-Space Physics?” So, even those that were neutral or dissatisfied with the peer review process will most likely submit another manuscript to the journal. I hope this is a better indicator of how you feel about the job we’re doing.

If you have any feedback, good or bad, about the editorial or review process, then please feel free to contact me. You can do it either publicly with a comment on this blog or the corresponding Facebook post at our AGU Space page or privately via email or some time when you see me in person.

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2 thoughts on “Author Survey Results

  1. >> perhaps those that are disgruntled with the system and want to voice a concern to AGU are more likely to fill out the survey. This could be part of it, too.

    Dear Editor, but I have other opinions because those that were disgruntled may even not spend time to voice the concern because dealing with the review processes already made them exhausted. Such cases do exist.

  2. Update: I misread the chart from AGU. The value marked “production” is from the surveys of those with papers moving to production (i.e., accepted), while the value marked “peer review” is from the surveys of those with papers stopping at the peer review stage (i.e., rejected). This explains a lot! Still, there is a big difference in these groups, but not in their intentions to submit a future paper to JGR Space Physics.

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