Disclaimer: I realize this could be perceived as off-topic, but wanted to get perspectives from those directly in the field. If this question gets closed, I understand.

I've been investigating statistics journals to submit my work to (specifically, an application paper). Many journals are specialized, others quite general.

However, I've noticed that top journals in the field (e.g., sub-journals of the Journal of the Royal Statistic Society (RSS)) generally exhibit the above traits. In many cases, the impact factor is less than 2. In certain cases, the time from submission to publication is 1.5-2 years in duration. In the majority of cases, the acceptance rate is ~10% or lower. Some of the most celebrated contributions to statistics have been published in this way. This trend has been previously investigated by van Nierop (2009) for example (Title: Why do statistics journals have low impact factors?). Interestingly, the Journal of the American Statistical Association (JASA) currently enjoys an impact factor of 3.7, but long times between submission and publication. A similar trend exists for RSS Series B: Statistical Methodology.

Long wait times appear to explain why impact factors are so low, but the association is not causal.

For important work, these trends can be discouraging. A solution however exists in the form of preprints to avoid potentially being "scooped".

Could someone weigh in on this? CV has many seasoned statisticians who've likely served on journal editorial boards at some point in their career.


Van Nierop, E. (2009), Why do statistics journals have low impact factors?. Statistica Neerlandica, 63: 52-62. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9574.2008.00408.x

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    $\begingroup$ if this is on-topic, it is on the main site, and not here. Maybe better on chat? $\endgroup$ Jan 30 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ Some relevant factors probably are: - statistical papers are usually more technical and more difficult to review than substantive papers (it therefore takes longer to get through the review process) - it is more difficult to find qualified reviewers (the people who are qualified are already overwhelmed with reviews and other obligations) - many applied researchers, especially in the social sciences, do not read technical articles and therefore also do not cite them - more applied statistics journals tend to be more widely read and also tend to have higher IFs $\endgroup$ Jan 30 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ This was taken to academia.stackexchange.com/questions/206329/… I didn't get further with this myself than wondering whether it was true before trying to explain it. The only detail here is on two journals. What is the full reference for van Nierop (2009)? Detail: it's Royal Statistical Society. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 2 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox It's actually in Statistics Neerlandica. I have put the full citation in my post. $\endgroup$ Feb 2 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Naturally what was true 15 or more years ago may no longer hold. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 2 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ I imagine that this question might work as a community wiki on the main site. In addition, with a little rephrasing this question could be a meta question about itself (where and how to best ask a question about the work environment of statisticians like the example below copy paste current question?). $\endgroup$ Feb 3 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ academia.stackexchange.com/questions/206329/… $\endgroup$ Feb 3 at 11:56
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    $\begingroup$ It's hard for most people to answer this with more than anecdotes or speculation. The anecodotes could be dominated by grievances and grumbling and the speculation is likely to be entertaining but futile. (And I am a journal editor.) Sorry, but although the underlying questions are interesting and of real importance, I think closure here was the right decision. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 4 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ @NickCox At least it's on Academia SE, so should still be findable. $\endgroup$ Feb 5 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed. Thanks for posting there. Anyone with an opinion or even some evidence can join in there. $\endgroup$
    – Nick Cox
    Feb 5 at 18:05


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