Richard G. McGee,1,2 Lara E. Graves3
To determine whether COVID-19 restrictions reduced manuscript submissions during the standard working day.
This was a retrospective cohort study of all submissions from January 2015 to March 2022 to the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal and the official journal of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ Paediatrics and Child Health Division. The submission time stamps for all manuscripts submitted by Australia-based authors for which a final editorial decision had been recorded were analyzed. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Australia was identified in January 2020, and the first COVID-19–related restrictions were introduced to some Australian states in March 2020, so the data set was divided into 2 time periods: before COVID-19 (January 2015 to February 2020 inclusive) and the COVID-19 era (March 2020 to March 2022 inclusive). Two-tailed t tests were performed to determine the differences in proportions between the time periods for the standard working week vs weekends and between standard working hours (9 am to 5 pm) vs early hours (12 to 8 am) vs late hours (6 to 11 pm).
There were a total of 8244 manuscripts submitted to the journal during this period. Of these, 2167 manuscripts were submitted by Australia-based researchers, and there were 2114 manuscripts for which an editorial decision was recorded (53 under review). A median of 286 manuscripts were submitted by Australia-based researchers each year. Table 83 shows the day and time of manuscript submission. Before the onset of COVID-19, 89.4% of submissions were made during the standard working week (Monday through Friday); during the COVID-19 era, this proportion reduced to 80.5%, although the difference was not statistically significant (P = .48). Before the onset of COVID-19, 67.3% of submissions were made during standard working hours (9 am to 5 pm); during the COVID-19 era, this reduced to 61.5%, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = .43). Likewise, the differences in proportion of submissions for the time periods 12 to 8 am (14.2% vs 16.7%; P = 0.7) and 6 to 11 pm (18.5% vs 21.8%; P = .40) were not statistically significant.
Most manuscript submissions occurred during the standard working week and working hours, with no significant change before and after COVID-19 restrictions. The day and time of manuscript submission represents only one aspect of the processes involved in conducting research and may not correlate to when other parts of research are performed. However, COVID-19 restrictions are ongoing in Australia, and their effect on research practices may still be evolving.
1Department of Paediatrics, Gosford Hospital, Gosford, New South Wales, Australia; 2Central Coast Clinical School, The University of Newcastle, Gosford Hospital, Gosford, New South Wales, Australia, email@example.com; 3Department of Paediatric Endocrinology, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES
We thank Ms Kate Edmonds and Prof David Isaacs for their assistance in obtaining the editorial data.