Author Surveys: Insights into Iterative Author Survey Campaigns

ACS launched our rolling author surveys in 2015 with two main objectives in mind: 1) to give corresponding authors of each manuscript considered by one of our journals the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience, and 2) to collect that feedback over several years to allow for longitudinal analysis. Within ACS Publications the decision to launch a rolling survey campaign was not taken lightly. There is legitimate concern regarding the number of surveys authors receive each year. The suggestion of adding yet another (or two or three, depending on an author’s publishing frequency) should be considered carefully. Our marketing department conducts several targeted survey campaigns every year, each offering critical insight to a particular component of the publishing experience. However, the launch of rolling author surveys was justified by specific limitations of those traditional targeted campaigns. Most survey campaigns do not provide authors with the chance to report on each of their manuscript submission experiences individually—with more than 50 journals in the ACS Publications portfolio, author experience can vary widely from journal to journal. In traditional targeted campaigns, authors’ responses represent their cumulative author experience at ACS, not their experience with one particular journal or editor. Also, targeted campaigns render data sets that are too short to consider the long-term impact of changes within a publishing program—submission system functionality, editorial leadership, and advances in publishing technology, to name a few. Because those examples involve significant (and expensive) decisions, reporting on their effectiveness and impact is critical. Thus, ACS Publications […]

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