Operational statistics for the APESM journal (2014–2016)

It may be of interest and instructive to authors who submit research articles to a scientific journal to see a summary of some of the statistics about manuscripts submitted to the APESM journal. It is with the intent of improving the transparency of the processes that I publish these operational statistics for APESM for the 3 year period 2014–2016.

It can be seen from Table 1 that between 2014 and 2016, the number of manuscripts submitted and published in APESM has increased. This growth continues the trend that was apparent the last time that operational statistics were reported in 2013 for APESM [1]. Soon after submission, manuscripts are checked for the quality of English expression, scientific structure, plagiarism, duplicate publication, and consideration is given to the scientific novelty of the reported findings. As a result of this scrutiny, between 35 and 40% of manuscripts were rejected by the editors without being sent to reviewers (see Table 1, column 3). In addition, some submitted manuscripts that are deemed to be not yet ready for review, are returned to the authors for modification prior to being accepted for review as we do not wish to waste reviewers’ time with manuscripts that are under-prepared. We don’t keep records of this that are good enough to be definitive, but the number is probably greater than 30%. Some of these may ultimately be rejected without review, if the modification is inadequate.

Table 1 Selected annual operational statistics

Global engagement

APESM editorial and review effort is managed from Australia, New Zealand and North America by members of the sponsoring scientific College (ACPSEM), publication effort is in the Netherlands by Springer while online management and tracking of manuscripts is undertaken from India. In 2015 there were over 7800 institutions worldwide with access to APESM electronically via online deals with Springer. Manuscripts may arrive from any country and an approximate measure of the global visibility of APESM can be gained from the number of countries from which manuscripts are submitted for consideration and by the number of countries from which the reviewers are drawn. A manuscript is deemed to have come from the country of residence of the first listed author. During the 3 year period 2014–2016 manuscripts were received from a total of 53 countries. Table 1 column 8 lists the number of different countries from which manuscripts were received in each year. The top twelve source countries for APESM manuscripts are listed in Table 2. While authors from 15 European countries submitted manuscripts to APESM, the majority came from Asian countries.

Table 2 Top 12 source countries between 2014 and 2016 for APESM manuscripts; for reviewers; for article downloads from the APESM website. For comparison, countries producing the greatest number of physics and astronomy, and engineering publications in 2014–2016

The manuscripts are sent to reviewers who are recently published researchers in the field and these are drawn from a great many countries (see Table 1). The top twelve source countries for reviewers are presented in Table 2, column 2. Unsurprisingly, reviewers from English-speaking countries are most commonly used. However reviewers are also often drawn from India, China and Iran. While not amongst the top twelve, many reviewers were also from Germany, Spain and Greece [2].

The influence or impact of an article is sometimes equated to the number of times it has been cited [3], but another index is how often it is read as measured by the number of times that the article is downloaded. In 2015 there were 25,000 full-text downloads of articles from the journal’s website, which is an increase on the 19,000 downloads that occurred in 2014. Table 2, column 3, lists the countries that were accessing the greatest number of APESM articles in this way. Unsurprisingly, five of the countries who most prolifically download APESM articles are also among the most common source countries for manuscripts submitted to APESM; nine are among the common reviewer source countries; and ten were from the top twelve article producing countries in the world.

The twelve countries with the highest number of published articles in the SCImago combined categories of engineering and physics and astronomy in 1996 were, in order: USA, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, France, China, Italy, Canada, India, Spain and South Korea (with Australia 15th) [4]. This combined category is used as a surrogate for medical physics and biomedical engineering because there are no separated categories for medical physics or bioengineering in the aggregated SCImago data. The publications data for the 3 year period 2014–2016 (Table 2 column 4) show that the top twelve nations haven’t changed over the previous 20 years, but that South Korea, India and China have all moved up the ladder significantly (Australia is now 13th). So China, India, South Korea have improved their ranking at the expense of the USA, Japan, Russia and some European nations. Iran has improved its publication performance from below the 50th rank in 1996 to 14th in 2014–2016. Similarly, Malaysia and Turkey have dramatically improved their output and rank. Hence it is not surprising that these ascendant nations are also among the major source countries for APESM manuscripts.

Future projection

Given that six of the ascending nations in the list of annual number of physics, astronomy and engineering articles published, are amongst the most common source countries for manuscripts submitted to APESM, I expect an increasing number of submissions from these Asian countries over the next few years.


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Caon, M. Operational statistics for the APESM journal (2014–2016). Australas Phys Eng Sci Med 40, 487–489 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13246-017-0569-8

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