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January 11, 2011
The Life of a Paper
Angewandte Chemie recently ran a behind-the-scenes article about their journal, with several interesting bits of information. For one thing, they've gotten a lot more selective over the years, as the number of submissions has gone up. They publish many more papers, total, than they used to, but reject a much higher fraction at the same time. (I've added to that total myself a couple of times!).
Mind you, there are times when that rejection rate should have been even a bit higher, but as you might guess, the article doesn't bring up those awkward moments. There's no insight into the vile puns and other pop-culture references that continue to infest their abstracts, either. Can't have everything.
But I found this chart interesting. These are the download statistics for a particular (unspecified) communication in the journal over time. (Note that they've scrubbed the units on the Y-axis, the wimps).
This confirms what most scientists have figured, that your paper has a brief window to be noticed, and then back in the pile it goes. Back to the background rate, with people coming across it in literature searches once in a while.
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