In this post, in addition to the impact factor for Frontiers in Psychology, I’ve tried to gather all the data a researcher would require before submitting an article to the journal.
Analysis on impact factor and rejection correlations
An analysis of 570 journals, which we reported on in an earlier blog post debunking the myth of selecting for impact, revealed almost no relationship between impact factors and rejection. The journals with the highest impact factors undoubtedly had high rejection rates, but many journals with low and lowest impact factors also had high rejection rates. Additionally, low rejection rates were common in many journals with high impact factors. We concluded that rejection rates above 30% are unreasonable and do not serve research and researchers well
Rejection rates for 570 journals in a sample with an impact factor
Figure 1 shows the 570 journals with publicly available rejection rates. Impact factors from Thomson Reuters Web of Science (2014). (Log scale) – reprinted from http://blog. frontiersin. org/2015/12/21/4782/.
Why is the conventional wisdom flawed, and how did Frontiers create some of the most highly cited journals in their fields while maintaining reasonable rejection rates?
According to conventional wisdom, reviewers typically are unable to determine and select high-impact papers (Campanario, 2009; Kravitz, Franks et al. In other words, many rejected manuscripts are just as significant as accepted ones (e.g., Herron, 2012; Eyre-Walker and Stoletzki, 2013). Since the determination of “high impact” is highly subjective, mistakes are possible. High rejection rates do not increase a journal’s impact for this primary reason.
A second reason is that a paper’s impact is influenced by its type, discipline, and, most importantly, the reputation of its authors (Kokko and Sutherland, 1999; Krell, 2002; Alberts, 2013). For example, review articles by renowned authors in the field of cancer research receive more citations than replication studies in the field of metallurgy by unidentified authors. As a result, journals that publish the incorrect type of article, in the incorrect discipline, by the incorrect authors, will always have low impact factors, as opposed to journals that publish the appropriate type of article, in the appropriate discipline, by the appropriate authors, who will have high ones.
Impact-neutral specialist review process
None of these factors account for the high number of citations in Frontiers journals. Rejection rates in Frontiers journals are around ~27% for submissions outside of research topics, most manuscripts are published within 3 months of submission, and yet, Frontiers citations rates are amongst the very highest when compared to journals in the same categories How is this possible?.
We can begin with the guidelines Frontiers provides its reviewers and editors with. Traditional subscription journals give their editors and reviewers instructions to select manuscripts presenting “important,” “novel,” results that are appealing to a wide audience. Papers that are therefore likely to receive citations and raise the journal’s impact factor This is what one may call a strategic selective review. Frontiers does the opposite.
Editors and reviewers are asked to improve the paper in Frontiers’ impact-neutral, specialized review process unless there are irreparable errors. Reviewers are not asked to judge the “importance” and “novelty”. We think this is a subjective assessment, so we leave it for a post-publication review by the general public.
To facilitate this new approach, Frontiers has created a novel Interactive Review Forum – an online system where, instead of sending formal requests for revision, reviewers and editors discuss issues with authors for as many iterations as may be necessary. In other words, Frontiers editors and reviewers actively contribute to the quality of submissions. They also take joint responsibility for the published manuscript. Unlike the anonymous reviewers of traditional journals, Frontiers reviewers and editors publicly sign off on the papers they accept.
A new way of making decisions in scholarly publishing
All of this is made possible by the peculiar way in which the Frontiers review process distributes decision-making authority. In conventional journals, the editor, who is frequently a publisher employee, decides whether to send a paper for review and then ultimately decides whether to accept or reject it. It is the duty of a wholly independent Associate Editor at Frontiers. Frontiers has more than 8000 Associate Editors who come from universities all over the world.
The review that follows is fully formalized, preventing the concentration of power in a select few. As a result, both final acceptances and rejections need to be agreed upon by the associate editor and the reviewers, with the chief editor then validating the decision to ensure the process’ integrity. When a reviewer withdraws from the process after submitting a personal recommendation to reject, the Associate Editor has the option of either recommending that the article be rejected or, if they disagree with the reviewer, inviting another reviewer to take their place.
An editor should never decide whether to accept or reject a submission on her own. To put it another way, it is challenging for a Frontiers editor or reviewer to reject a paper she disagrees with, but simple to do so when there is general agreement that the paper has serious flaws. Faster decisions, reasonable rejection rates, and improved quality are the end results.
Proudly publishing all sound and correct research
Editors and reviewers of traditional subscription journals will reject all high-quality papers that do not meet their impact criteria, even if they are otherwise excellent; however, editors and reviewers of Frontiers will accept them, even if they contain material that is challenging to publish in conventional journals. This includes studies that contradict accepted wisdom or their own beliefs, papers reporting negative results, replication studies, and other similar studies. Many of these papers end up being extremely significant.
The key takeaway is that traditional journals’ selective strategic review is a slow, unreliable process that ultimately results in the rejection or postponement of high-quality papers that readers deserve to read. It is a procedure that wastes the time of researchers and results in a significant loss of research opportunities.
There are enough examples to fill volumes. The story of serial rejections of the CRISPR discovery is just one popular example. In brief, it is unfair, inefficient and wasteful. The specialist impact-neutral review, on the other hand, allows authors to publish high-quality work without delay and with significant improvements suggested by the editors while simultaneously allowing readers to make their own choices about the work that interests them most.
Of course Frontiers’ review is not perfect. For instance, many of our editors have requested that we explain the steps involved in rejecting a subpar paper. These procedures include some responses to those requests. For instance, we’ve just made it simpler for reviewers to “recommend rejection” so Associate Editors can handle this more quickly.
But things are going well, and other open-access publishers have made their own innovations with objectives very similar to our own. We see light at the end of the tunnel. For the first time, authors are able to publish their work quickly and achieve the impact they deserve without having to go through the formal review process. This is a disruptive development that will have profound effects on the entire scholarly publishing sector. Frontiers is proud to be part of it.
Aarssen, L. W. , T. Tregenza, A. E. Budden, C. J. Lortie, J. Koricheva and R. Leimu (2008). Rejection rates and impact factors in ecological journals: best value The Open Ecology Journal 1 (1).
Alberts, B. (2013). Impact Factor Distortions. Science 340 (6134): 787-787. doi: 10. 1126/science. 1240319.
Campanario, J. M. (2009). Rejecting and resisting Nobel class discoveries: accounts by Nobel Laureates. Scientometrics 81 (2): 549-565. doi: 10. 1007/s11192-008-2141-5.
Eyre-Walker, A. and N. Stoletzki (2013). The relative merits of post-publication reviews, the impact factor, and the number of citations are used to evaluate science. PLoS biology 11 (10): e1001675.
Herron, D. M. (2012). A model suggests that post-publication reader review may be more accurate than conventional peer review, making expert peer review obsolete. Surgical endoscopy 26 (8): 2275-2280. doi: 10. 1007/s00464-012-2171-1.
Kokko, H. and W. J. Sutherland (1999). What can impact factors teach us about environmental trends? doi: 10. 1016/S0169-5347(99)01711-5.
Kravitz, R. L. , P. Franks, M. D. Feldman, M. Gerrity, C. Byrne and W. M. Tierney (2010). PLoS One 5 (4): e10072. Editorial peer reviewers’ recommendations at a general medical journal: Are they trustworthy and do editors care? doi: 10. 2307/255467.
Krell, F. -T. (2002). Why impact factors don’t work for taxonomy. Nature 415 (6875): 957-957. doi: 10. 1038/415957a.
How to submit manuscript in Frontiers in Microbiology
Is Frontiers in Psychology a good journal?
The overall rank of Frontiers in Psychology is 5025. This journal is ranked zero by SCImago Journal Rank (SJR). 873. SCImago Journal Rank is a metric that assesses the impact of journals on science.
What is the rejection rate for Frontiers?
Submissions, acceptances, rejections Within this framework, the rejection rate for 2021 was on average 40% across all Frontiers journals, and as high as 79% in some journals
How much does it cost to publish in Frontiers in Psychology?
|Journal||A Type Articles||B Type Articles|
|Frontiers in Psychology||US$ 3,225||US$ 2,020|
How long does Frontiers in Psychology take to review?
From submission to acceptance, the review process takes, on average, 77 days across our 50 journals. It varies across journals for a number of reasons (e. g. Some fields do more iterations in the discussion forum, while some fields have reviewers who are on the field and out of contact for a while.