Date of this Version
BACKGROUND Research papers submitted to Australian Family Physician (AFP) are accepted or rejected on the judgment of the research editor with advice from expert reviewers. Rejection can be outright (eg. when research is ‘fatally flawed’) or, more often, conditional (when authors are invited to respond to criticisms). Sometimes authors fail to resubmit. The fate of both groups of papers is unknown, as are the reasons for failing to resubmit.
METHOD We sent an explanatory email to all authors who submitted a paper to the AFP research section between 2002 and 2004, with a simple eight question survey (plus 1–2 additional questions for authors of rejected/withdrawn articles).
RESULTS Of 123 requests sent, 50 were returned (41% response rate). These were supplemented by an extra 19 papers identified by literature searching. Authors of accepted papers were more likely to participate than those whose papers were rejected or withdrawn. Most papers (28/47, 60%) submitted to AFP were written specifically for the journal. Those that were published underwent major change from the original submitted. Three out of 11 papers rejected by AFP were published in another journal. Authors who failed to resubmit (or withdrew) their paper usually cited being too busy. The editorial and peer review process was considered valuable by 74% of respondents. Most accepted papers (20/37, 54%) underwent one revision: rejected articles were usually rejected outright (9/11, 82%).
DISCUSSION That authors often lose interest in getting their paper published after preparing it for submission is curious. Most authors consider peer and editorial review to be valuable.
This document has been peer reviewed.