PLoS Author Research 2010

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  • As requested in this survey, we've gone ahead and launched some PLoS Linked-In sites, please visit and join them if you wish. Here are the web addresses:

    PLoS: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3484244
    Meet PLoS: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3484731
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  • 1. Summary of results and conclusions Author Research 2010
  • 2. Purpose of author research
    • Organizational objective
      • Products and Services - Improve overall author service
    • Specific goals in 2010
      • Consider all aspects of our service
      • Provide quantitative data to compare with 2009 data
      • Consider significant new features in 2009
        • ALMs
        • Better LaTeX handling
        • Figure process modifications
      • Identify actionable outcomes
  • 3. Methodology
    • Two surveys for each journal (conducted in March)
      • Note just corresponding authors
      • Rejected authors in 2009
      • Published authors in 2009
      • Avoid duplicates
      • 14 surveys in total
    • Consistent questions wherever possible
      • To allow cross-journal comparisons and comparisons with last year’s data
    • Survey Monkey is the mechanism
      • Incentivized with prize draw
  • 4. % Completed
    • Similar results to last year (09 figures in parentheses)
    • Lower response rates for rejected authors, as before
  • 5. Years of experience
    • Combined data for published and rejected authors
    • PLoS CB and PLoS Med seem to attract the youngest authors –more marked than last year
    • Remember that this is just corresponding authors
  • 6. Social web resources
    • Plot just shows any resource that is used (even if infrequently) by >10% of respondents.
    • Facebook is the frontrunner, followed by Linked-In
    • CB shows the highest level of usage, particularly Facebook and Linked-In
      • There is now a PLoS LinkedIn group
  • 7. How did you first learn of PLoS X?
    • Results shown only for published authors – similar for rejected
    • Most frequent answer –’colleague’ or ‘read article’ – general shift towards ‘read article’ (growth of content?)
      • For Genetics and Pathogens results, ‘read article’ is still driver (as last year) – suggests content is major driver
      • Also for Comp Biol, Biol and NTDs
    • For ONE, referral from another journal is more common but less so than last year (27% to 17%)
      • ‘ read article’ is correspondingly increased (21% to 31%)
    2009 2010 From another journal Colleague Read article Media coverage From another journal Colleague Read article Media coverage
  • 8. Motivation for submission
    • Y axis = average rating (Max is 4).
    • Only published authors – rejected very similar
    • Service (blue) and quality (red) are the predominant drivers
    • Similar to the picture in 2009
  • 9. Did you submit to another journal before PLoS?
    • Highest levels implies competition is greatest (ONE, Med, Bio, Genetics)
    • % Authors who view Med as a first choice journal has increased from 32% to 45%
    • % Authors who view ONE as a first choice journal has increased from 23% to 37%
  • 10. Satisfaction with editorial process
    • Y axis = average rating (Max is 4). Only published authors shown.
    • A mean rating of 3 means an overall rating of ‘above average’
    • Very similar picture to last year.
      • Helpfulness of staff is where journals score highest
      • Added a question about submission process
    • Levels of satisfaction lower across board for rejected authors
    • Free text comments (numbers pretty small):
      • Published: most frequent dissatisfiers are online submission process (38/158, ONE; 12/20, Path)
      • Rejected: ‘quality of feedback’ more commonly mentioned (22/57Bio, 9/33 Path)
  • 11. Satisfaction with production process
    • Y axis = average rating (Max is 4). Only published authors
    • Levels of enthusiasm are generally good (>3 = above average overall)
    • PLoS CB is still lower in general
      • main reason mentioned in free comments is quality of figures (7/26), proofing process (6/26), problems with LaTeX (4/26)
      • handling of LaTeX issues much less frequent this year (4/26 versus 10/16 in 2009)
  • 12. Improvement of LaTeX handling
    • Dark = “a great deal”; Light = “some”
    • PLoS CB is the most relevant audience for these changes, but on most journals a small minority will benefit
      • Full impact likely to be seen next year
  • 13. Article-level metrics questions
    • Dark = “very”; Light = “moderately”
    • In general levels of awareness are reasonable, but there is room for improvement
    • In free text comments, plenty of enthusiastic comments
      • ~32/131 ONE respondents are already finding them useful in some way.
      • A large number also said that they haven’t used them yet.
  • 14. Likelihood to resubmit (published)
    • Dark = “Highly likely”; Light = “likely”
    • Comments
      • Last year 101/154 ONE respondents indicated concern about IF/Indexing. This year that figure was reduced to 54/207
    Bio CB Path Gen NTDs ONE Med
  • 15. How many times have you submitted to PLoS X?
    • Around 40% of our authors are multiple submitters
    • Reasons for multiple submissions
      • High quality of journal
      • Good previous experience
    • Reasons for single submission
      • Lack of suitable paper is most common answer (NTDs 6/25; Bio 7/29, ONE 36/336)
  • 16. Overall satisfaction
    • Very similar to last year
    • In free-text comments –
      • Figures, tables, appearance (CB 6/15)
      • Slow review/process (ONE, 9/91); Fast review (ONE, 9/91)
    2010 2009
  • 17. Conclusions
    • Levels of satisfaction are good and consistent with last year
      • Improve service levels where possible (new journal management system)
    • PLoS ONE is gaining status as an attractive publication venue in its own right
      • Motivation for submission – (‘read article’ increased)
      • First choice for more published authors (23% to 37%)
    • Remaining dissatisfaction for PLoS Comp Biol
      • Yet to see impact of improvement in LaTeX processing
    • ALM data – responses are positive
      • We need to increase utility
    • Across many journals, main driver of awareness is content
      • Promote the outstanding content in all journals