Data from: Is it becoming harder to secure reviewers for peer review? A test with data from five ecology journals
Albert, Arianne Y.K.; Gow, Jennifer L.; Cobra, Alison; Vines, Timothy H. (2017), Data from: Is it becoming harder to secure reviewers for peer review? A test with data from five ecology journals, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3539k
Background: There is concern in the academic publishing community that it is becoming more difficult to secure reviews for peer-reviewed manuscripts, but much of this concern stems from anecdotal and rhetorical evidence. Methods: We examined the proportion of review requests that led to a completed review over a 6-year period (2009–2015) in a mid-tier biology journal (Molecular Ecology). We also re-analyzed previously published data from four other mid-tier ecology journals (Functional Ecology, Journal of Ecology, Journal of Animal Ecology, and Journal of Applied Ecology), looking at the same proportion over the period 2003 to 2010. Results: The data from Molecular Ecology showed no significant decrease through time in the proportion of requests that led to a review (proportion in 2009 = 0.47 (95 % CI = 0.43 to 0.52), proportion in 2015 = 0.44 (95 % CI = 0.40 to 0.48)). This proportion did decrease for three of the other ecology journals (changes in proportions from 2003 to 2010 = −0.10, −0.18, and −0.09), while the proportion for the fourth (Functional Ecology) stayed roughly constant (change in proportion = −0.04). Conclusions: Overall, our data suggest that reviewer agreement rates have probably declined slightly but not to the extent suggested by the anecdotal and rhetorical evidence.