News, Issue 8 June 2011

What Springer Authors Say About Us: Journal Authors Satisfaction Survey

Our business is publishing and it all begins with you, our authors. To measure your levels of satisfaction in publishing with Springer and to continue to improve your publishing experience, we have conducted surveys for both journal and book authors over the last two years. You may recall receiving an invitation to participate in these surveys following the completion of your publication.

Since the surveys began in late 2008 (for journal authors) and late 2010 (for book authors), more than 40,000 journal authors and over 900 book authors have participated. This feedback is very much appreciated and provides valuable insight into how our publishing and author services can be improved.
Results for individual journals are available to Springer editors and production managers (responses remain anonymous) to allow them to make improvements and address issues to continue to improve the publication process.

Here we wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the key findings from the journal author satisfaction survey with you. The results of the book author survey will be available later in the year.

Publishing considerations

The journal author satisfaction survey focuses on a number of key areas including speed of publication, copy editing, peer-review process and communications with Springer and participants are asked to rank these areas in accordance with their levels of satisfaction.
According to the results, you told us that the key factors that you consider to be very important when considering which journal to submit your manuscripts to are:

  • the journal's reputation,
  • the quality of a journal's papers,
  • the quality of peer review,
  • its international scope, and
  • the speed of publication.

Given this, Springer will strive to ensure that our high standards are continually met so that Springer journals remain at the top of your list when considering which journals to submit your work to.

What you say about us

When it comes to current levels of overall satisfaction with the publication process, the results have been very positive over the last two years. As Heino Haase, Market Research Analyst, mentions “One question asks about the author’s latest paper and how satisfied they were with the overall publication process. The scale ranges from 1 = very satisfied to 5 = not at all satisfied. What we see is that, over the last two years, answers have been rather positive and constant.” Indeed, 59% of respondents from the 2009 survey and 61% respondents from the 2010 survey stated that they were “very satisfied” with the process. A further 29% of respondents (2009) and 27% respondents (2010) stated that they were “satisfied” with the process.

Gaining speed

The survey also highlighted some areas where improvements needed to be made, in particular with regards to the time taken for peer-review and general production times of articles.
Springer’s response to speed up production timescales has been to streamline workflows and introduce the standardized MyPublication process. As Bernhard Haaf, Manager, Quality Assurance comments "For example, five years ago the average production cycle for a journal article was 90 days. Now, that cycle has been reduced to just 21 days on average."

In addition, the availability of offprints has also become quicker since the introduction of eOffprints, the PDF version of the article. An additional benefit here is that - since last month - authors are now able to download the eOffprint at the Online First stage of production!
We continue to monitor all stages of production. We work very closely with our service partners and regularly audit our production processes to identify possible sources for errors or delays and provide solutions to overcome those problems. Bernhard Haaf also comments “Even though we publish thousands of articles, we believe that personal contact with our authors is incredibly important. If you have any issues or questions during the copy editing or production process, your production manager is always on hand to answer any queries.”

Peer-review times

With regards to peer-review, we unfortunately have limited influence on the time this process takes. One step towards improving the timeframe is to encourage more of our authors to become reviewers. Journal Editors-in-Chief face an increasing number of submitted articles which makes it challenging to balance existing reviewers’ workloads at the same time as keeping the refereeing process within an acceptable timeframe. However, as more than two-thirds of authors surveyed (64%) stated that they have been referees for research articles at some stage, we know that you recognize the importance of this role, too. We would like to thank you for your support and would like to ask that you continue to help in the peer reviewing process.
If you have not yet acted as a reviewer, we would like to encourage you to consider the role and help us speed up the publication process even more.

Thank you!

Finally, we would like to thank you for continuing to publish with Springer. Your support is very much appreciated and as more than 90% of you stated that you would either definitely publish or very likely consider publishing with Springer again, we look forward to receiving your next paper!