The rest of them, though, involved multiple rounds of peer review. For example, my review on flipped learning and student engagement was initially rejected – I submitted it in April 2019, and received the Reject & Resubmit notification on 13 October 2019 – this was after a round or two of peer review! I then reworked and resubmitted the article, and received notification on Christmas Day 2019 that it had been accepted. It was then published in February 2020.
I really didn't think that there was much difference between the length of publication process for systematic review articles, as opposed to other types of articles, so I decided to do a quick analysis of my publications. In terms of the systematic review articles, two were published in the International Journal of Educational Technology, one in the Asian Journal of Distance Education, one in Computers & Education, and one in the CITE Journal. Two of the other journals were published in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, two in the British Journal of Educational Technology, one in the International Journal of Educational Technology, and one in the Journal of Interactive Media in Education.
Analysis of publication process length
Much like the approach taken by Dr Shannon Mason in her article on PhDs by publication, here is an indication of how long my systematic review articles have taken to get published, in comparison to my other primary research and theoretical articles:
I actually found the results of my analysis quite surprising. Aside from my rapid review, which was incredibly quick through the peer review process, the least amount of time to an initial response that I had for a systematic review article was 47 days. On average, it actually took 19 days longer to receive an initial response to a systematic review article, and 40 days longer to final acceptance, with the overall process taking 66 days longer on average for the entire publication process. However, when compared to Mason's (2018) articles, the length of publication for my other articles was actually 24 days quicker on average, and the systematic review articles 42 days slower.
I suspect that one of the major reasons why the length of the peer review and publication process for my systematic review articles was so much longer, is the difficulty journals have in securing reviewers with the requisite knowledge of systematic review methodology. However, this seems like an area, ripe for further exploration in the future.
What I my recommendations for conducting reviews?
For further thoughts on conducting systematic reviews, please see this open access book chapter I co-wrote with my ActiveLearn colleagues.
Bond, M. (2021). Are systematic reviews "harder" to get published? http://drmelissabond.weebly.com/blog/are-systematic-reviews-harder-to-get-published
Melissa is an EPPI-Reviewer Support Officer at University College London and a researcher. She worked for 10 years as a high school teacher in country South Australia, followed by three years as a Research Associate at the Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany.