Over the past 10 years, The Journal of Experimental Biology has seen manuscript submissions increase from ~650 submissions per year to >1000 submissions per year, with an approximately 5% increase in the past 12 months. The average length of a Research Article has also grown exponentially, and both the frequency and the amount of supplementary material (online movies, datasets, figures and tables) are expanding rapidly. By contrast, the acceptance rate for Research Articles has remained at 45–50% since 2001.
It is not in the interests of either the journal or its authors to increase the volume of published manuscripts, as it dilutes the impact of articles and can result in a backlog of manuscripts waiting to be published.
Inevitably, we are therefore in a position where we have to accept fewer articles, while still ensuring that we continue to publish high-quality research and maintain the huge diversity of subject areas (Fig. 1) that keep us at the forefront of research in comparative physiology and integrative biology.
In order to maintain our high quality of production and improve current turnaround times between article acceptance and publication, the journal is also being more stringent about article length and, from 1 June, will be introducing a 7000-word limit for Research Articles and Reviews.
We have recently introduced a new Short Communication article type, specifically designed for brief communication of hypothesis-driven, self-contained pieces of original research (see http://jeb.biologists.org/content/216/10/1757.full). In May 2012, we introduced Advance Online Articles (http://jeb.biologists.org/content/early/recent), providing subscribers with access to peer-reviewed author PDFs soon after acceptance and prior to the thorough scientific copyediting and layout stages that are carried out by our in-house scientific editors and production staff before articles are compiled into a journal issue and published online. By signing up to receive Advance Online Article email alerts, readers can easily keep up to date with the recent scientific developments in the field.
We hope that these measures will benefit the community by ensuring articles are more accessible to readers, of higher quality and published more quickly.