Manuscript submissions and acceptances
Overall, Biological Invasions has published 3478 articles since 1999. From 2003 to 2020, Biological Invasions received a total of 9838 submissions, of which 3339 were accepted, corresponding to an overall acceptance rate of 34%. On a continental scale and over the 22-year period analyzed, Biological Invasions received the most manuscripts from North America (n = 3208), followed by Europe (n = 2852) (Fig. 1a, Table 1). The next highest numbers of submissions originated from Asia (n = 1479), Latin America (including the Caribbean) (n = 1068) and Australasia (n = 783), while the fewest came from Africa (n = 356) and Pacific Islands (n = 21). Rates of manuscript acceptance for publication were higher for submissions from North America (49%) and Australasia (45%), followed by Europe (34%), while rates were around 25% for all other regions. However, when population size by country is considered, the numbers of submissions and acceptances per million inhabitants show a somewhat different pattern (Fig. 1b). In the cartograms country sizes are represented in relation to their number of submissions and acceptances. North America, particularly the USA, recedes in dominance and New Zealand and Australia gain importance owing to the high number of articles published and relatively low population sizes (Fig. 1b).
On a national scale, submissions were dominated by the USA (n = 2694) (Fig. 1). The second-largest number of submissions, four times lower, was from China (n = 615) followed by Australia (560), Brazil (513), Spain (496), Canada (369), and UK (330) (Table 2). Manuscript acceptance rates were highest for New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. Interestingly, ten of the twelve countries with acceptance rates of at least 40% are countries with English as a first language or Scandinavian countries known to have a high level of English proficiency among their populations. Switzerland and the Czech Republic were the other two countries with an acceptance rate of 40% or more.
Based on the institutional affiliation of the corresponding authors, the journal received submissions from 132 countries and published articles from 76 countries. Because there are 195 countries worldwide as defined in our database, this means that based on corresponding authors alone, researchers from 32% of all countries have never submitted a manuscript to the journal during this period, and researchers from 61% of countries have not published a single article in Biological Invasions. Corresponding authors from only five countries (USA, China, Australia, Spain, and Brazil) submitted 50% of the published articles, and corresponding authors from three countries (USA, Australia, and Canada) published 51% of all papers (Fig. 1a, b). When one accounts for population size, New Zealand, American Samoa, Australia, and Switzerland become the leaders (highest number of papers published per capita). However, acceptance rates also vary widely by country and region, ranging from 49% in North America to 5% in Pacific Islands (Tables 1, 2).
Biological Invasions received an increasing number of submissions following 2004 with a particularly steep (265%) increase in submissions between 2006 and 2011 (Fig. 2). Likewise, the number of accepted articles rose, although at a lower rate (144%), from 2006 to 2011. Although the number of submissions plateaued after 2011, the number of countries of first author’s affiliation has increased continuously until the present. However, for accepted manuscripts, the number of countries remained rather constant since 2011 at around 34 countries of corresponding author’s affiliation on average. The proportion of papers submitted from the USA seems to be fairly constant over time while acceptances show a decline, especially from 1999 to 2009.
By far, most invitations were sent to reviewers from North America (Fig. 3, Table 1), while European researchers received only half as many, and still fewer were sent to reviewers from other regions. The rate of acceptances of reviewer invitations was surprisingly constant around 50–60% across all regions. In line with submissions, by far most reviewers were invited from the United States (47% of all invited reviewers), while for Australia, United Kingdom, and Canada rates were 6–7%, and for other countries the number of invited reviewers was below 5%. When one accounts for population size, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Australia had the highest number of reviewer invitations (17%, 10% and 6% of all invited reviewers normalized by population sizes, respectively).