Write when hot - submit when not: seasonal bias in peer review or acceptance?


At a top psychology journal, Psychological Science (PS), submissions peak during the summer months. We tested whether this seasonal submission bias decreases the likelihood of a paper being accepted in that period. Month of submission data was obtained for all 575 publications in PS for the period 2003-2006. Whereas submissions to PS were higher in the summer, there was no evidence that most accepted publications were originally submitted in the summer. Thus, contributors submit to PS when the likelihood of acceptance is the lowest - creating their own entrance barrier. A similar seasonal pattern was not identified for Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, another top psychology journal. Using the Web of Knowledge database, we further assessed whether overcoming the seasonal entrance barrier influences the number of citations a paper receives in subsequent years. We discuss the possibility that the different rejections policies in the two journals, employing desk rejections or not, may explain this discrepancy, and explore a range of alternative hypotheses. © Shaul Shalvi, Matthijs Baas, Michel J. J. Handgraaf, and Carsten K.W. De Dreu 2010.

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