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Acad Emerg Med. 2015 Oct;22(10):1213-7. doi: 10.1111/acem.12763. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

If At First You Don't Succeed: The Fate of Manuscripts Rejected by Academic Emergency Medicine.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.
Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.



The purpose of this study was to characterize the publication fate of a recent 2-year sample of manuscripts declined by Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), the journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.


This was a retrospective analysis of manuscripts submitted to AEM in 2010 and 2011 that were declined by the AEM editorial review process. An online search was conducted for each declined paper, to determine whether or not it was published in another clinical/scientific journal after being declined by AEM. The investigators used Scopus and Google Scholar, using the submitting author's name, the verbatim title, and key words and phrases from the title, to search for subsequent publication of each paper.


Of 1,542 manuscript submissions to the journal in 2010 and 2011, 1,052 papers were declined. Of these, 693 (65.9%) were subsequently published elsewhere, in a total of 229 journals: 362 papers in 22 different EM journals, 81 in 14 EM subspecialty journals, 237 in 185 non-EM journals, and 13 in eight nursing journals. Papers were published a median of 16.7 months (interquartile range [IQR] = 11.8 to 22.0 months) after being declined at AEM. Of the 229 journals, 19 do not have h-indices. The median h-index of the remaining 210 journals is 36 (IQR = 17 to 64; maximum = 229; AEM's h-index is 78). Thirty of these 210 journals, publishing 43 papers, have higher h-indices than AEM; the other 650 papers were published in journals either with lower h-indices than AEM's (n = 180 journals) or in journals without h-indices (n = 19 journals). U.S. and non-U.S. authors had similar rates of subsequent publication (65.3% vs 66.6%, p = 0.69) for papers initially declined by AEM. Papers in the educational advances category were less likely to be subsequently published than those in the original contributions (p < 0.0001) and brief reports (p = 0.0137) categories.


Nearly two-thirds of manuscripts declined by SAEM's journal are eventually published elsewhere, in a large number and wide variety of both EM and non-EM journals, in a median of 16.7 months. Authors of manuscripts declined by AEM should consider submission elsewhere, as subsequent publication of these manuscripts in another journal is probable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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