The fate of all manuscripts rejected from the journal Clinical Otolaryngology over a three-year period was investigated. The aim was to review publication rate, delay, and the impact factors of the journals that the papers went on to be published in.
917 papers were rejected from Clinical Otolaryngology between 2011 and 2013. The fate of these manuscripts was determined by searching for the corresponding author's surname, and if necessary key words from the manuscript title, in both PubMed and Google Scholar.
Main outcome measures
The main outcome measures recorded were: the subsequent publication of the article, delay to publication, and journal of publication
511 papers were subsequently published in journals, representing 55.7% of all rejected manuscripts. The average delay was 15.1 months (Standard Deviation (SD) = 8.8). The impact factor of Clinical Otolaryngology was found to be higher than the average of the journals that accepted the rejected manuscripts in all three years. Only 41 (8%) papers were published in journals with a higher impact factor than Clinical Otolaryngology. Of all subsequently accepted manuscripts 60 (11.7%) were found only on Google Scholar (and not on PubMed).
Rejection from Clinical Otolaryngology certainly does not prevent subsequent publication, although the papers tend to be published after a lengthy delay and in journals with a lower impact factor than Clinical Otolaryngology. When performing literature searches, it is important to search more than one database to ensure as many of the relevant articles are found as possible.
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