Difficulty in finding manuscript reviewers is not associated with manuscript acceptance rates: a study of the peer-review process at the journal Radiology

Kevin M. Kallmes, Waleed Brinjikji, Ahmed T. Ahmed, David F Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Beyond explicit reviewer commentary, editors may rely on other metrics when evaluating manuscripts under consideration for publication. One potential, indirect measure of merit may be the ease or difficulty in identifying reviewers willing to review a given paper. We sought to determine whether reviewer decisions to agree or decline to review a manuscript are associated with manuscript acceptance. Original Research submissions to “Radiology” from 1/1/2008 to 12/31/2011 were studied. Using Student’s t tests, we studied the association between the ratio number-of-reviewers-declining:number-of-reviewers-agreeing to review manuscripts (“decline:agree ratio”) and editor decision to accept or reject the manuscript. A subgroup analysis of papers in which all four invited reviewers agreed to review the paper (“universal agree-to-review group”) was performed. Pearson’s correlation was used to study decline:agree ratio and accepted manuscript citation rate. Original Research manuscript acceptance rate at Radiology was 14.5% (780/5375). Decline:agree ratio was similar between accepted and rejected manuscripts (0.87 ± 0.84 versus 0.90 ± 0.86 respectively, P = 0.35). “Universal agree-to-review” papers were accepted at similar rates to other papers (15.7% [22/140] versus 14.5% [758/5235] respectively, P = 0.69). Higher decline:agree ratios corresponded to lower manuscript citation rates (r = 0.09, P = 0.048). Our study, based on the lack of correlation between agreement to review rate and acceptance rate to Radiology and the direct correlation between agreement to review rate and manuscript citation rate, suggests that reviewers may have a preference for manuscripts with greater potential scientific relevance, but that reviewer motivation to agree to review does not include the expectation of manuscript acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 8 2017



  • Administration
  • Bibliometrics
  • Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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