Characteristics of 63 journals publishing peer-reviewed articles on atmospheric science were collected from online information and through a survey e-mailed to the journals. The rate that submitted manuscripts were rejected for publication (hereafter, the rejection rate) was available for 47 (75%) of the journals. Although the range in rejection rates is quite large (2%–91%), most journals reject between 25% and 60% of submitted manuscripts, with a mean of 38.7%, a result of more than 6,000 manuscripts a year rejected for publication. Some journals have a policy of the editor vigorously rejecting manuscripts without peer review, whereas others send either all or nearly all of the manuscripts out for peer review. Measures of journal volume and quality (i.e., number of submissions, number of published articles, number of citations, impact factor, immediacy index, article half-life) show little, if any, relationship to rejection rates, indicating that rejection rates are not higher for journals of higher perceived quality. Nonprofit journals have significantly lower rejection rates than for-profit journals, and journals with page charges have significantly lower rejection rates than those without page charges. That few journals have rejection rates less than 25% indicates that some minimum standard for quality of submitted manuscripts is met at nearly all journals, which is some of the evidence for consensus (defined as the shared conceptions of research problems and techniques) within the atmospheric sciences. Because many factors go into choosing a journal for manuscript submission, the results of this study should not be used as a menu for authors to decide to which journals they should submit their manuscripts.
Division of Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysics, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, and Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland