Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Future of Academic Journals in a COVID-19 World

Version 1 : Received: 2 October 2020 / Approved: 12 October 2020 / Online: 15 October 2020 (00:00:00 CEST)

How to cite: Magnus, J.; McAleer, M. The Future of Academic Journals in a COVID-19 World. Preprints 2020, 2020110107. Magnus, J.; McAleer, M. The Future of Academic Journals in a COVID-19 World. Preprints 2020, 2020110107.


Many academics are critical of the current publishing system, but it is difficult to create a better alternative. This review relates to the Sciences and Social Sciences, and discusses the primary purpose of academic journals as providing a seal of approval for perceived quality, impact, significance, and importance. The key issues considered include the role of anonymous refereeing, continuous rather than discrete frequency of publications, avoidance of time wasting, and seeking adventure. Here we give recommendations about the organization of journal articles, the roles of associate editors and referees, measuring the time frame for refereeing submitted articles in days and weeks rather than months and years, encouraging open access internet publishing, emphasizing the continuity of publishing online, academic publishing as a continuous dynamic process, and how to improve research after publication. Citations and functions thereof, such as the journal impact factor and h-index, are the benchmark for evaluating the importance and impact of academic journals and published articles. Even in the very top journals, a high proportion of published articles are never cited, not even by the authors themselves. Top journal publications do not guarantee that published articles will make significant contributions, or that they will ever be highly cited. The COVID-19 world should encourage academics worldwide not only to rethink academic teaching, but also to re-evaluate key issues associated with academic journal publishing in the future.


academic journals; publishing; seal of approval; impact factor; h-index; anonymous refereeing; continuous and discrete frequency of publications; avoidance of time wasting; seeking adventure; open access; academic publishing as a continuous dynamic process; improving research after publication; internet


Social Sciences, Library and Information Sciences

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