Sejal Vyas,1 Matthew Pavlovich,1 Jared Graves1
Cell Press Community Review was launched in September 2020 with 20 participating journals as a pilot for a new peer review model. This model aimed to increase the efficiency of peer review by reducing cycles of editorial rejection through simultaneous consideration at multiple journals of interest and by providing delineated options for revisions for each target journal based on a single set of reviews. This study evaluated the performance of Community Review compared with the traditional peer review model, in which manuscripts may undergo multiple rounds of editorial rejection and transfer, to determine if Community Review results in improvements in the rates of peer review and acceptance and in publication timeline.
Total submissions, peer review offers, papers reviewed, and papers accepted from September 2020 through May 2022 were compared between Community Review and direct submissions to participating journals. Publication timeline for submissions to Community Review (Community Review submission date to journal acceptance date) were compared with those of papers submitted directly to the participating journals, delineated by the number of editorial reject/transfer cycles (first journal submission date to final journal acceptance date). Additionally, surveys were sent between April 2022 and May 2022 to authors on submission (38 responses of 258 sent, 15% participation rate) for feedback on the Community Review model.
Of 1674 total Community Review submissions, 1237 (74%) were offered peer review at 1 or more participating journals. Of the 1237 offers, 579 were taken up by the authors (47% uptake of peer review offer; 35% of total submissions reviewed). Of 344 Community Review submissions with a final postreview outcome, 191 were accepted (56% postreview accept rate). In the same period, 13,615 of 41,638 unique manuscripts (33%) directly submitted to participating journals were sent for review, either at the original journal or following 1 or more cycles of editorial reject/transfer. Of 9966 direct submissions with a final postreview outcome, 5689 were accepted (57% postreview accept rate). The results of the publication timeline analysis are presented in Table 6. Author surveys indicated “consideration across a selection of high-quality journals” and “interest in concept” as the top reasons authors chose to submit to Community Review.
The Community Review model resulted in a greater chance of receiving an offer for peer review compared with direct journal submission and a larger percentage of total submissions being reviewed. The publication timeline for Community Review was comparable to that for direct journal submissions that underwent at least 1 round of editorial reject/transfer. There was interest from the research community in the Community Review submission model, with authors expressing interest in this model for efficiency in being considered for multiple journals simultaneously.
1Cell Press, Elsevier, Cambridge, MA, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES