How Fast is PeerJ?

by | Sep 4, 2013 | regular


Here at PeerJ we know that speed is one of the most important factors when choosing where to submit your articles. PeerJ accelerates your research in three important ways:

1. If your work passes peer review and is deemed to be publishable, then we will publish it.

We don’t reject articles based on determinations of ‘audience’ or ‘impact’ or ‘degree of advance’ – there are many horror stories about articles spending years being bounced from one journal to the next, never having flaws identified but never being accepted either – this wastes your time and the time of countless reviewers as academia ends up re-reviewing the same article. Thus, PeerJ speeds up the academic publishing ecosystem by the fact that each article only needs to be reviewed once.

2. If you use PeerJ PrePrints then your work is online in hours not months.

If you are concerned about being scooped or simply want to get early feedback, then you can submit your work to PeerJ PrePrints any time you want, even while your journal submission is going through peer review. This will establish the primacy of your findings, and also gain you valuable feedback from a wider audience. We have several examples of people making multiple revisions to their posted preprints, or posting a preprint at the same time as entering peer review at the PeerJ journal. PeerJ PrePrints typically go live within 24 hours of submission. And don’t forget, many journals allow early draft preprints (non-exhaustive list).

3. PeerJ gets first decisions back fast! We move to full acceptance fast! And we publish your articles fast!

The ‘first decision time’ is the most important factor to consider when looking at the speed of a journal’s decision making (as the time spent after that decision, while the article is revised, is variable and dependent on each author). For those articles which received a First Decision in the first 8 months of PeerJ’s submissions (Dec 2012 – July 2013), they received their First Decision with a median time of just 24 days (n=221).

And for those articles which were published in the first 6 months of PeerJ’s publication history (Feb 12th – Aug 12th), they moved from submission to final Acceptance (i.e. including the author revision time) with a median time of just 51 days (n=132).


We hope you agree that these times are fast, and that the PeerJ ecosystem delivers on its promise of accelerating the dissemination of research. We look forward to your submissions, and to helping you accelerate the speed of your own research.

Going forwards, we intend to do more analysis on our data – watch this space for data analysis of our article level metrics, as well as the effects of our open peer review. If there is anything in particular you would like to hear about, then please leave a request in the comments below.

And finally, while we were digging around in our timing data, we thought it might be fun to look at a few other factors – see below the fold for that analysis.

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Bear in mind this is a blog post, not a stats paper, and so please don’t assign any significance to these findings (and always remember that correlation does not imply causation!) however we thought you might be interested to learn that:

The longer the abstract, the quicker it has been for articles to be accepted (perhaps implying that reviewers get more out of a lengthy abstract, which helps them with their decision?). Specifically, for those articles which have gone on to be accepted, the median length of the Abstract has been 1,668 characters. From this, those articles with an abstract >2,000 characters (some 22% of the set) are accepted with a median of 43 days, while those that are less than 2,000 characters are accepted with a median of 53.5 days.

Conversely, the longer the title of an article, the longer it has taken to be accepted (perhaps implying that long titles equate to complex topics?). Specifically, for those articles which have gone on to be accepted, the median length of the title has been 101 characters. Articles with titles greater than 101 characters were accepted with a median of 55 days, while those that are less than 101 characters were accepted with a median of 49 days.

So what is an author to do? Without in any way implying that this is a strong result and bearing in mind this is just for fun (!), if an accepted article had a title >101 characters AND an abstract < 2,000 characters then the median time from submission to final acceptance was 55 days, whereas if an article had a title < 101 characters AND an abstract > 2,000 characters then the median acceptance time was 49 days. So draw your own conclusions!

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