The publishing house Elsevier invited me to fill out a survey regarding their journals. As a reward, they gave me a glimpse at their statistics.

The three most important considerations when choosing a research journals are (in order) :

  1. Speed of review process
  2. Standard of reviews
  3. Overall reputation of the journal

And the activity researchers complained to most about? Peer reviewing manuscripts.

In any case, if you want to build a good journal and attract great papers, make sure you have fast and competent peer review. (Duh!) Meanwhile, having a good printer or a good editorial board are much less important.


  1. In my opinion you can’t really expect to have a nice job from the peer reviewers unless you decide to do a radical change and pay them for their work.
    As with everything, you get what you pay for. You know, I quite agree with the second panel of to with respect.

    Comment by Federico Poloni — 3/6/2010 @ 15:04

  2. Federico Poloni is absolutely right; I have never understood the system in which we give our results of hard and expensive research away for free; they have them reviewed for free; and then they start selling them to everybody for an awful lot of money

    Comment by Oliver — 4/6/2010 @ 3:26

  3. I disagree with Federico Poloni and Olivier’s comments. It is misleading to expect that paid reviewers will perform better work than unpaid ones. As an (unpaid!) editorial board member of one of Elsevier’s journal (an reviewer for some others), the actual (perfectible) publishing system is the only way to filter out irrelevant work and maintain standard quality you could expect from a decent research journal. You can’t expect that from other publishing system (open-source, etc.) Paying reviewers won’t do any good and would result in an increase in subscription cost of the whole research journals community. As a reader of such high-valued publications, are you willing to pay more for your subscriptions?

    Comment by Daniel A. Lavigne — 4/6/2010 @ 9:36

  4. Although this is a little old, it still sounds true to me:
    “the reputation of the journal was considered most important by a wide
    margin. Likelihood of acceptance ranked a weak second” – National Enquiry into
    Scholarly Communication 1979, p. 49)
    National Enquiry into Scholarly Communication. 1979. Scholarly communication. Baltimore:
    Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Comment by Jeromy Anglim — 5/6/2010 @ 23:19

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