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Open Access Seasonal bias in editorial decisions for a physics journal: you should write when you like, but submit in July

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A recent discussion on possible seasonal bias in editorial decisions yielded discrepant results for different journals. All studies agreed that further investigations in different fields are necessary. In this article submission and acceptance data are analyzed using a sample that is much larger than the previously investigated datasets. Specifically all the 15,478 submissions to EPL (formerly Europhysics Letters) submitted within the 12 years from 1999 to 2010 are included. While trends in the yearly number of submitted papers can be seen, these are also reflected in the number of accepted and rejected papers. Monthly fluctuations in the rate of acceptance are strong; averaging over several years smoothes these fluctuations and shows a clear maximum in July. Even more conspicuous fluctuations are found for the acceptance time, i.e.the duration of the reviewing process. Averaging over several years shows that this process is longest for manuscripts submitted in January, May and October.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

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    Learned Publishing will be moving to Wiley-Blackwell as of January 1, 2016. Please contact the publisher at for information on how to continue access to this title.
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