Flow of manuscripts and items processed by SciELO Brazil journals in 2014 and 2015

By Abel L Packer, Alex Mendonça and Fábio Almeida

Photo: SciELO.

Photo: SciELO.

The journals of the SciELO Brazil Collection operate at every year a significant flow of publishing and communication of research results that extends to all major areas of scientific knowledge and an increasing geographical coverage of authorship. In recent years this flow includes more than 80,000 submissions and about 20,000 articles published annually, amounts representing a significant contribution to the overall scholarly communication in Brazil. In this context, the continued improvement of manuscripts flow management is essential as an outstanding indicator of journal quality and the perspective of increased impact and influence of the research they communicate.

This post presents data on the editorial flow of years 2014 and 2015 that have been collected from the biannual consultation performed by SciELO with all its journals. In the past two years the journals of SciELO Brazil collection conducted a massive operation of receiving, processing, selecting and publishing articles that was possible to easily quantify due to the massive adoption of manuscript management systems by SciELO journals, fulfilling one of the indexing criteria. Table 1 summarizes the data on 2014 and 2015 operation by thematic areas that considered all 266 journals that fully responded the consultation on the activities of the first and second semesters of 2015 and 263 journals which responded on the 2014 and 2015 operation. The journals able to inform on their flow account for 94% of respondents. The expectation is that all, or at least most journals will regularly operate with systems that allow the advanced management of manuscripts.

Table 1. SciELO Brazil – distribution of the flow of manuscripts received and accepted in 2014 and 2015 by thematic area

Table 1

Source: SciELO, 2016

The numbers of 2014 e 2015 are practically equal totalizing about 80,000 manuscripts submitted, representing on average 302 papers per journal. The same set of journals accepted for publication is about 17,000 manuscripts per year or 64 per journal. The equal results obtained in 2014 and 2015 suggests that SciELO Brazil journals operate with a stabilized editorial flow of manuscripts. Regarding the numbers in Table 1 and tables derived from it which are listed below, it is worth noting that the figure of 80,000 manuscripts covers both the manuscripts that have been submitted to a journal and approved, as well as repeated submissions of manuscripts that have been previously rejected. We cannot estimate the percentage of manuscripts that have been submitted two or more times. It is also noteworthy that the 17,000 articles approved come from manuscripts submitted in the same year or in the years prior to the survey, i.e., they do not necessarily belong to the universe of 80,000 articles submitted in the same year, considering that the evaluation of manuscripts extends between years and more than half of the published articles takes more than one year to process.

Still from Table 1, the total number of manuscripts submitted and accepted varies considerably among the major areas of knowledge. Health Sciences, Agricultural Sciences and Humanities journals process 75% of the total flow of manuscripts received and accepted among journals of SciELO Brazil collection. Considering the average ranking of manuscripts received by journal, the leading journals are of the following areas: Agricultural Sciences, Health Sciences and Engineering, while Humanities and Applied Social Science journals occupy the last positions, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. SciELO Brazil – distribution of the flow of manuscripts received and accepted in 2014 and 2015 by thematic area ranked by the total number of manuscripts received per journal

Table 2

Source: SciELO, 2016

Considering the average number of manuscripts accepted by each journal, the highest figures correspond to Exact and Earth Sciences, Health Sciences and Agricultural Sciences journals, while Humanities and Applied Social Science journals occupy the last positions, with 41 and 32 articles accepted, respectively, which is way below the collection’s average number of 64 manuscripts per journal, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. SciELO Brazil – distribution of the flow of manuscripts received and accepted in 2014 and 2015 per subject area sorted by number of manuscripts submitted and accepted for publication

Table 3

Source: SciELO, 2016

Information regarding the flow of manuscripts and its trends is essential for a professional editorial management of journals. In this sense, it is a remarkable advance the fact that in 2016 most SciELO Brazil journals regularly operate the management of manuscripts with automated systems that enable authors to follow the manuscript assessment process and editors and publishers to online monitor the status of manuscripts’ processing, as well as to know the number of received and approved manuscripts in different periods. Table 4 shows the adoption status of manuscripts management systems by SciELO Brazil journals in August 2016 on major fields of knowledge. Only 6 of 288 journals had not adopted a manuscript management system, although they are expected to do so by the end of 2016. Some of the journals are still transitioning from a manual to an automated system.

Table 4. SciELO Brazil – distribution of systems and services for manuscripts management operated by the journals in 2016 by thematic area

Table 4

Source: SciELO, 2016

SciELO operates manuscripts management services to 60% of the journals through ScholarOne and SciELO-provided OJS systems that serve 42% and 18% of the journals, respectively. OJS system overall serve 30% of journals and other systems, 27%. Considering thematic areas, more than 50% of Biological Sciences journals (68%), Exact and Earth Science (63%), Health Science (57%) Agricultural Sciences (44%) and Engineering journals (39%) adopt ScholarOne, while OJS predominates in Humanities, Applied Social Sciences and Linguistics, Literature and Arts journals.

The adoption of manuscripts management systems or services that rationalize processes and make them more transparent is undoubtedly a remarkable advance that SciELO Brazil journals have achieved. Gains to journals individually and to the overall collection are huge. However, there is still much to improve and innovate on manuscript management. SciELO suggests, among others, two advances that still pose challenges to journals management. The first regards decreasing time of manuscript processing between receipt and publication of accepted papers. The second is the internationalization of manuscript management with the participation of international affiliated researchers, editors and peer- reviewers. These two developments will be dealt with in a new post.


Translated from the original in portuguese by Lilian Nassi-Calò.


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

PACKER, A.L., MENDONÇA, A. and ALMEIDA, F. Flow of manuscripts and items processed by SciELO Brazil journals in 2014 and 2015 [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2016 [viewed ]. Available from: https://blog.scielo.org/en/2016/09/23/flow-of-manuscripts-and-items-processed-by-scielo-brazil-journals-in-2014-and-2015/


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