Publishing and peer reviewing as indicators of the impact of COVID-19 on the productivity of the aquatic science community
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Publishing and peer reviewing as indicators of the impact of COVID-19 on the productivity of the aquatic science community

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  • Journal Title:
    Ices Journal of Marine Science
  • Description:
    Beginning in February 2020, COVID-19-related stay at home orders and workplace shutdowns worldwide have disrupted personal and professional lives, including those of aquatic scientists. Manuscript submission and peer reviewing data from journals may be indicators of productivity impacts among aquatic scientists. We tested four null hypotheses: the COVID-19 disruption has had no effect on (i) the number of submissions to journals, or (ii) the geographic region in which the corresponding author is based, nor on the peer review process in terms of (iii) acceptance rate of requests to review and (iv) time in review. We used data provided by seven leading aquatic science journals covering the period 2009-2020 and representing 32 756 submissions. Submission differences varied between journals and were lower than expected in March 2020, but due to increases in subsequent months, there was no overall change in the number of submissions during the COVID-19 disruption months of February-June 2020. Geographic patterns in the number of submissions varied more by journal than by region, with both higher and lower numbers of submissions relative to expected numbers. Acceptance rates of requests to review were similar to 2% lower overall; however, time in review declined by an average of 5days relative to earlier years, showing that those scientists undertaking reviews did them more quickly during the COVID-19 disruption. Collectively, these results show that the overall productivity of the aquatic science community, as measured by publications and reviewing rates and times, has thus far only been slightly disrupted, although the impacts will vary greatly among individuals depending on life circumstances. The breadth and longevity of this disruption are unprecedented, making it important to continue to assess the relative impacts across a wide demographic range of aquatic scientists and to consider approaches to allow those differentially affected to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels of productivity.
  • Source:
    ICES Journal of Marine Science, Volume 77, Issue 7-8, December 2020, Pages 2439–2444,
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