Decision Statistics for 2021
Throughout each year, we carefully check our journal’s submission and decision statistics. These numbers provide important insights into the overall process and they are of interest to many of our readers, authors, and reviewers. Thus, we have decided to share the most informative statistics publicly, and will do so every year.
This post will show the number of submissions, the desk reject rates, the acceptance rates, the decision length, and the reviewer statistics. To provide the most up-to-date numbers, we will focus on the submissions we received in the previous year – 2021. However, it is important to keep in mind that we receive new submissions throughout the year (i.e., until the last calendar day), and that not all submissions from 2021 have yet reached final decisions. Thus, we will also use submissions from 2020 (or older) for some statistics, and comment on the trends.
We are happy to see that the interest in publishing in our journal continues to rise. As you can see from the figure below, we received 437 submissions in 2021, which represents a 19% increase over 2020. While exciting, this is also a challenge for the editorial team. To keep up with the submissions, we recently welcomed three new associate editors: Fabio Sticca and Jan Šerek started working with us in 2021, and Maèva Flayelle started in 2022.
Figure 1. Submissions and Initial Decisions in the Past Five Years.
First, let’s look at the initial decisions for the submissions (i.e., whether the manuscript was sent to external reviewers or rejected by the editor in charge). As shown in the figure, the desk reject rate in our journal in 2021 was 76% (all submissions from 2021 have finished the initial evaluation).
Second, let’s look at the data for the final decisions after reviews. Since 43 of the submissions from 2021 are still in some phase of the review process, we will use data from the preceding year. In 2020, we sent 94 submissions to external reviewers and eight are still undecided. Hence the following numbers are based on 86 submissions. From these, 42 (i.e., 49%) were rejected after reviews; most were rejected after the first review round (35) and some in subsequent rounds (7). This number has been stable across recent years (it ranged from 48-52% in 2017-19). About half of the manuscripts sent to external reviewers are rejected. Some authors decided not to submit a revision to our journal, which was the case for 11 manuscripts sent to reviewers in 2020 (i.e., 13%). This number is also similar across years (it ranged from 11-15%). Finally, this means that, of the manuscripts sent to external reviewers, about two-fifths are eventually accepted and published (38% for 2020 submissions). Counted from all submissions received in a year, the acceptance rate for 2020 would now be 9%, although if all eight remaining articles are accepted, that number will rise to 11% (which, again, is very stable because the percentage was 12% in 2017-19). If we include desk rejects, the total reject rate for 2020, for now, is 86% (and ranged from 81-84% in previous years).
In Cyberpsychology, revisions are sent to the original reviewers for re-evaluation, and most articles go through more than one revision before they are accepted. For instance, out of the 33 manuscripts that we accepted from 2020, three were accepted after four revisions, 11 after three revisions, 12 after two revisions, and seven after one revision. We are yet to receive a submission brilliant enough to be accepted without any revisions!
There are many different ways to count the decision length. We will focus on two key marks. The first is the period from submission to the initial decision made by the editor in charge. In 2021, the initial decisions took an average of 17 days, with a median of 10 and a mode of 5.
The second significant mark is from the first submission to the decision after the first review round. We will also use 2021 submissions here, although seven 2021 submissions are still waiting for their first reviews. From those with a decision after the first reviews (n = 98), the average time was 132 days with a median of 122 and multiple modes (76, 110, 121, 134, and 157).
The decision length from submission to a final reject/accept decision is, in our opinion, meaningless. It very obviously depends on the number of revision rounds that the article goes through and the time that the authors need to revise the manuscript, which is why we do not present it.
Finally, we will take a brief look into the review process. To make a decision, we require a minimum of two quality reviews per article. Finding suitable reviewers who are willing to review the articles is a demanding task. For the submissions that went to external reviewers in 2021, we had contacted 965 reviewers (for first-round reviews). This means that there was an average of nine reviewers per article, with a median of 8, and modus of 4. About one eight of the review requests were left without a response from the reviewers, and about half declined the invitation.
Once the reviewers accept an invitation, they usually do so on time or with only a delay of a few days. We provide four weeks to deliver the review and receive 74% of first-round reviews within 35 days of the acceptance of the invitation. Unfortunately, some reviewers never deliver their review – this happened with 8% of the reviewers.
We contact the original reviewers for subsequent revision rounds, and, only when they are not available, search for new ones. We are happy that most original reviewers accept the invitation to re-evaluate the manuscripts (93% do so) and hope that this number will increase in the future.
As you can see, processing a manuscript is quite a complex task. We always strive to obtain quality reviews from reviewers with expertise in the given topics, which can be highly challenging and take a long time. We appreciate that the authors are patient and understand the difficulties that may come during this process, and we thank all of them. Moreover, we are truly grateful for all the reviewers who accept our invitations and devote their time and energy to the manuscripts we handle. It is always a pleasure to see articles improve as they go through the reviews, which would not be possible without them.
Lenka Dedkova, Marie Bedrošová, and Vojtěch Mýlek