Back in 2014, I posted an analysis of the time my lab takes to publish our work. This post is very popular. Probably because it looks at the total time it takes us to publish our work. It was time for an update. Here is the latest version.
The colours have changed a bit but again the graphic shows that the journey to publication in four “eras”:
- Pre-time (before 0 on the x-axis): this is the time from first submission to the first journal. A dark time which involves rejection.
- Submission at the final journal (starting at time 0). Again, the lime-coloured periods are when the manuscript is with the journal and the green ones, when it is with us (being revised).
- Acceptance! This is where the lime bar stops. The manuscript is then readied for publication (blank area).
- Published online. A red period that ends with final publication in print.
Since 2013 we have been preprinting our work, which means that the manuscript is available while it is under review. This procedure means that the journey to publication only delays the work appearing in the journal and not its use by other scientists. If you want to find out more about preprints in biology check out ASAPbio.org or my posts here and here.
The mean time from first submission to the paper appearing online in the journal is 226 days (median 210). Which is shorter than the last time I did this analysis (250 days). Sadly though we managed to set a new record for longest time to publication with 450 days! This is sad for the first author concerned who worked hard (259 days in total) revising the paper when she could have been doing other stuff. It is not all bad though. That paper was put up on bioRxiv the day we first submitted it so the pain is offset somewhat.
What is not shown in the graphic is the other papers that are still making their way through the process. These manuscripts will change the stats again likely pushing up the times. As I said in the last post, I think the delays we experience are pretty typical for our field and if anything, my group are quite quick to publish.
If you’d like to read more about publication lag times see here.
Thanks to Jessica Polka for nudging me to update this post.
The post title comes again from Daniel Johnston’s track “Some Things Last A Long Time” from his “1990” LP.