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Epidemiology. 2007 Mar;18(2):262-5.

The fate of epidemiologic manuscripts: a study of papers submitted to epidemiology.

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Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.



Little is known about the success rate of epidemiologic manuscripts, or the number of rejections they may go through before being published.


In late 2004 we conducted a retrospective follow-up study of the cohort of manuscripts submitted to Epidemiology in 2002. Using an e-mailed invitation, we conducted an online survey of authors identified from journal records. Authors were asked about submission attempts before and after their submission to Epidemiology.


Epidemiology received 371 original articles in 2002, of which it published 101 (27%). Survey response rates were 68% among the authors of accepted manuscripts, and 58% among authors of manuscripts rejected by Epidemiology. These responses provided a total sample of 223 manuscripts for analysis. Of the cohort, 83% (n = 184) were eventually accepted for publication (by Epidemiology or others). The acceptance rate by Epidemiology was the same whether or not the manuscripts had been previously rejected by another journal. Of the 155 manuscripts rejected by Epidemiology, 116 (75%) were eventually published or accepted for publication, 11 (7%) were being prepared for resubmission at the time of follow-up (19-34 months after rejection), 5 (3%) were under review by a journal, and 23 (15%) were inactive. Among the papers we could follow from first submission, 62% of those eventually published had been rejected at least once. In general, papers rejected by one journal were subsequently sent to a journal with lower impact factor.


These data suggest most epidemiology manuscripts are eventually published, although some persistence on the part of the authors may be necessary.

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