Does Journal Acceptance Rates Matter?

Generally, journal acceptance rates or rejection rates are journal tools to assess the trend of rejection or acceptance, and also, to monitor any discrepancies occurring in it. These rates are an internal quality control benchmark, whereas the impact factor is an external benchmark.

Factors affecting journal acceptance rates

A lot of factors determine the journal acceptance rate. The two most important factors have been listed below:

  • Quality check: The rates depend on the quality of papers submitted to a journal.
  • Number of papers in the pipeline: It is the number of papers under review and not the papers submitted that is taken into consideration while calculating acceptance rates.

Most of the journals avoid publishing the journal acceptance rate on their website as they are of the view that authors might be put off by a lower rate of acceptance. Those journals that do mention do so mostly in their “About Us” or “Overview” section. Journal editors reject papers for various reasons like low novelty value or the standard of research is not up to the mark. The Editors or peer reviewers provide useful comments to authors as feedback. Most editor review papers only on the basis of scientific content ignoring the language part; but if they feel that the paper stands a chance for publishing after revision, then they also advise authors to seek professional help to improve the language of the paper. Hence, authors should not use acceptance/rejection rates as a basis for selecting a journal. However, a general conclusion can be drawn stating that higher the acceptance rate, higher is the probability of a paper being accepted.

In spite of smaller speciality and open access journals having a higher acceptance rate, most researchers prefer to submit in high impact factor journals as they have higher visibility. It is very evident that journals with high impact factor tend to uphold their quality, and hence, are very particular about the quality of research and also the paper. This leads to higher rejection rate or lower acceptance. Sometimes it also happens that authors submit their papers to high impact factor journals in the hope of getting published, even when they are aware that their paper is not a perfect match to that particular journal, thus decreasing the journal’s acceptance rate.

Journal acceptance rates do not hold much relevance in the era of open access publication. It is upon the researchers as to what matters the most to them- is it the journal acceptance rate or the journal impact factor?


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