PurposeIn this investigation, we aimed to describe trends in time to acceptance (TTA) and time to online publication (TTOP) of research published in leading radiation oncology journals from 2010 to 2019. We further sought to identify journal characteristics that might influence TTA and TTOP.
Methods and materialsWe searched the publication history of 5 leading international radiation oncology journals. For all research articles accepted from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2019, we tabulated the date of article receipt, the date of acceptance, and the date of online publication when available. The TTA was calculated as the number of elapsed days from article receipt to acceptance, and the TTOP was calculated as the number of elapsed days from article acceptance to online publication. Using the Mann-Kendall test, we assessed for monotonic trends over time and used the post hoc Theil-Sen method to estimate rates of change. We created a multiple regression model to identify journal characteristics associated with TTA and TTOP.
ResultsIn total, 10,132 articles were included. Both the TTA and the TTOP decreased significantly from 2010 to 2019 (P = .005 and P < .001, respectively), with an estimated decrease of 1.5 days per year for the TTA and 7.0 days per year for the TTOP. Multiple regression modeling revealed that a higher journal impact factor was independently associated with an increased TTA (P < .001) and a decreased TTOP (P < .001). A higher number of accepted journal articles per year was associated with a decreased TTA (P < .001) and an increased TTOP (P < .001).
ConclusionsRadiation oncology research has been accepted and published online at increasingly faster rates during the past decade. The TTA may be longer in higher-impact, more selective journals, possibly suggesting a need for comprehensive peer review and complex editorial decisions. However, these articles are also published online faster after article acceptance. Future work examining patterns of acceptance and publication speed is needed to encourage rapid dissemination of practice-guiding data.