One of the primary motivations of a professional scientific society such as ASLO is facilitating publications for the research community. ASLO publishes 4 journals with varying scope and audience, which are hosted by its publishing partner Wiley and Sons at the Wiley Online Library. Every year, ASLO meets with Wiley staff to discuss initiatives to improve the performance of the journals and the overall publishing process at a ‘Strategy Day.’
The ASLO-Wiley Strategy Day focuses on key success factors for publishers, which can be simplified as why authors and readers value the ASLO journals. This includes metrics such as quality of research, impact factor and branding, circulation and accessibility, open science compliance, and other considerations. One of the most important topics discussed is the author experience, including timeline and turnaround rate for each stage of the publication process. This is a major concern for every journal—trying to maintain quality without sacrificing expediency.
As an ASLO Science Communication Fellow, I was invited to join and participate. Usually, the small summit is held in-person at the Wiley offices in Hoboken, NJ. This past year, in October 2020, the meeting was held virtually. Although I was sad to miss the small personal interactions that come with in-person meetings, avoiding Hudson County traffic was a relief.
The summit was very enlightening about the editorial process. Although I’m familiar with publishing as an author, I learned a great deal about the behind-the-scenes work needed to finalize a manuscript.
There are many interdependent parts moving during the publication process. The time required varies greatly dependent on the journal and type of article, as well as area of research. For example, the average number of days between receipt at the office to print publication can vary as much as 50-85 days. Some decisions can be made very swiftly (from desk rejection to no revisions needed) while others seem delayed by multiple rounds of revisions.
To help visualize the publishing process, I’ve made a comic illustrating the steps, with some commentary on the timeframe.
By Katie Harazin
Thanks to Brittany Schieler, Adrienne Sponberg, and Raelyn Cole Fellow Rosie Gradoville for helpful feedback on this post!
To learn more about the ASLO Science Communication Internship visit: https://www.aslo.org/opportunities-in-aslo/scicomm-internship/