Factors Affecting Journal Submission Numbers: Impact Factor and Peer Review Reputation
Background: Previous research has found that researchers rank journal reputation and Impact Factor amongst the key selection criteria when choosing where to submit. We explored the actual effect upon submission numbers of several possible factors.
Methods : We retrieved ten years of submission data from over a thousand journals, as well as data on Impact Factor, retractions, and other factors. We performed statistical analysis and identified correlations. We also undertook case study research on the fifty-five most significant submission decreases.
Results: We found a statistically significant correlation between changes in Impact Factor and changes in submissions numbers in subsequent years. We also found a statistically significant effect on submission numbers in the year following the publication of a retraction. Our case studies identified other factors, including negative feedback on the peer review process.
Discussion: Our findings regarding Impact Factor confirm previous indications about the significance of Impact Factor on submissions. We explain the correlation with retractions through the concept of “peer review reputation”. These results indicate that editors and publishers need to focus on a journal’s peer review practices, as well as a journal’s Impact Factor, if they are to maintain and grow submissions.