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Vital Statistics

Published on March 30, 2015        Author: 

Here are our ‘vital stats’ for 2014. Each year we track trends in the submission and publication of unsolicited manuscripts according to criteria of gender, place of submission and language. Note that there are no special requirements for authors wishing to submit to EJIL (you don’t have to hold a PhD or have a tenured position or write with impeccable Oxford English) nor is there any editorial affirmative action in selecting manuscripts for publication. Our double-blind review process guards against that. So the statistics we present speak plainly about the submissions we receive and the manuscripts accepted for publication.

Having seen a rise in the percentage of manuscripts submitted and published by women authors in the previous two years, the figures stabilized in 2014 at 35 per cent both for submissions and accepted articles. The figure was 28 per cent for published articles (recall that published articles largely reflect submissions of the previous year). For now I regard this as a blip – I doubt it signals a trend.

We divide the world into four regions for our statistical purposes: the European Union, the Council of Europe countries outside the EU, the US and Canada, and the rest of the world. This statistic might seem a little misleading as it indicates the place of submission – normally the institution at which authors work or study, rather than their actual nationality – but overall we believe it conveys a fairly reliable picture of our authors. Of the total number of manuscripts submitted in 2014, 43 per cent came from the EU, 8 per cent from CoE countries, 25 per cent from the US and Canada and 24 per cent from the rest of the world; very similar figures to those of the previous year. For accepted and published articles, the EU took a slightly larger share of the cake, with 58 and 59 per cent of the total, respectively, whilst CoE countries claimed 5 per cent of accepted articles and a larger 15 per cent of those published. For the US and Canada, the figures were 16 per cent for accepted articles and 20 per cent for those published, whereas the rest of the world took 21 per cent of accepted articles and only 6 per cent of published articles. The 2015 ‘published’ figures will reflect the higher rate of acceptances from the rest of the world in 2014. 

Importantly for a European journal, we encourage submissions from non-native English speakers, not least by providing an excellent copy-editing service for all articles accepted for publication. I believe that our statistics on linguistic origin reflect this attention: 46 per cent of submissions came from English-speaking countries and 54 per cent were from non-English-speaking countries. The numbers dropped a little in 2014 for accepted articles but showed a positive trend towards non-English-speaking countries for published articles: 53 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively, for English-speaking countries and 47 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively, for those coming from non-English-speaking countries.

Finally, a word on the content of our issues. We seek to maintain a balance between unsolicited submissions and commissioned articles. We do not think of ourselves as a refereeing service but also, through our own generated symposia and the like, as shaping somewhat the discourse. For better or worse. In 2014, due to the ever-increasing number of outstanding unsolicited manuscripts we receive, the scales weighed more heavily in that direction, with 29 unsolicited articles for a total of 688 pages, whilst commissioned pieces numbered 17 and occupied 286 pages. We are considering an increase in the number of pages per volume to accommodate the increasing number of excellent articles we feel compelled to accept, whilst not neglecting the symposia and commissioned articles we proactively seek in order to contribute at the editorial level to our explorations of important and cutting-edge issues in international law.

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Filed under: Editorials, EJIL, EJIL Analysis
 
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