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Bimonthly Publishing Survey

January 27, 2020

Bimonthly Publishing Survey

It seems there is always a new project or new way to look at things on the horizon, like offering an open access option for Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance (AMHP), which began in September 2019 with the first articles published in December 2019. The latest is the idea of changing the frequency of the journal from monthly to bimonthly (every other month).

   You may think that the reason for this is fiscal, but there are other equally important reasons to consider this. The first is quality. The editor has been concerned for some time about pressure to produce a certain number of pages each month. This has meant that some articles which may have been declined were instead sent for review. Not that any were bad papers, but perhaps the topic had been covered before or was of more limited appeal to our readership. Each manuscript takes time by the Editor and the Assistant to the Editor to facilitate the review process, the time of the reviewers who work very hard to offer suggestions on improving papers for publication, and then it takes the time of the editorial staff to prepare it for publication. In addition, accepting fewer papers might raise our impact factor which, while it is only one metric, does indicate how often AMHP articles are cited. Rejecting or declining more manuscripts may result in a more selective journal—and even an increase in high-quality submissions. To put this in perspective, during the last year, the journal’s acceptance rate for peer-reviewed articles was 56%; 23% of manuscripts were rejected and 21% were declined for review. Meanwhile, our Impact Factor is hovering around 0.9.
   The second reason is logistics. It is a lot of effort to keep a monthly publication going. As the Managing Editor eases into retirement the transition will be smoother if we have fewer deadlines to meet. By offering online publishing ahead of print we would still publish in a timely manner. For some authors this might be even better than being printed in the monthly publication. In addition, the March meeting Program would become a supplement to the March/April journal, giving us a little more time to prepare the program for press.
   The third reason is fiscal. With a proposed savings to the Association of about $15,000 a year, this is certainly an idea worth considering. The savings would come from printing (paper and ink) slightly fewer pages overall and by mailing half the number of issues we currently mail. 
   One of our main concerns, and the real reason for this survey is: How would publishing bimonthly with online ahead of print affect manuscript submissions to our journal? How would reducing our frequency affect membership and member engagement in our association? For a certain slightly more ‘mature’ population, receiving a monthly journal is one of the ways we look forward to keeping involved in our organizations. Yes, we send emails all the time (too often?) and we have a monthly online newsletter, “Ever Upward” (which is awesome!), but it is so easy to ignore an email. We need to hear from you, our members, readers, authors, and reviewers. What are your opinions about changing the frequency of AMHP? Please take a moment to respond to this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KVF5X5R.