Title

When will I get my paper back? A replication study of publication timelines for health professions education research

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-1-2020

Journal

Perspectives on Medical Education

Volume

9

Issue

3

DOI

10.1007/s40037-020-00576-2

Keywords

Open Data; Open Science; Publishing; Scholarly communication

Abstract

© 2020, The Author(s). Introduction: Biomedical researchers have lamented the lengthy timelines from manuscript submission to publication and highlighted potential detrimental effects on scientific progress and scientists’ careers. In 2015, Himmelstein identified the mean time from manuscript submission to acceptance in biomedicine as approximately 100 days. The length of publication timelines in health professions education (HPE) is currently unknown. Methods: This study replicates Himmelstein’s work with a sample of 14 HPE journals published between 2008–2018. Using PubMed, 19,182 article citations were retrieved. Open metadata for each were downloaded, including the date the article was received by the journal, date the authors resubmitted revisions, date the journal accepted the article, and date of entry into PubMed. Journals without publication history metadata were excluded. Results: Publication history data were available for 55% (n = 8) of the journals sampled. The publication histories of 4,735 (25%) articles were analyzed. Mean time from: (1) author submission to journal acceptance was 180.93 days (SD = 103.89), (2) author submission to posting on PubMed was 263.55 days (SD = 157.61), and (3) journal acceptance to posting on PubMed was 83.15 days (SD = 135.72). Discussion: This study presents publication metadata for journals that openly provide it—a first step towards understanding publication timelines in HPE. Findings confirm the replicability of the original study, and the limited data suggest that, in comparison to biomedical scientists broadly, medical educators may experience longer wait times for article acceptance and publication. Reasons for these delays are currently unknown and deserve further study; such work would be facilitated by increased public access to journal metadata.

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