Comfortably numb? Researchers’ satisfaction with the publication system and a proposal for radical change

Hans van Dijk*, Marino van Zelst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


In this preregistered study we evaluate current attitudes towards, and experiences with, publishing research and propose an alternative system of publishing. Our main hypothesis is that researchers tend to become institutionalized, such that they are generally discontent with the current publication system, but that this dissatisfaction fades over time as they become tenured. A survey was distributed to the first authors of papers published in four recent issues of top-15 Work and Organizational Psychology (WOP) journals. Even among this positively biased sample, we found that the time it takes to publish a manuscript is negatively associated with whether authors perceive this time to be justifiable and worthwhile relative to the amount their manuscript has changed. Review quality and tenure buffer the negative relationship with perceived justifiability, but not for perceived worth. The findings suggest that untenured (WOP) researchers are dissatisfied with the publishing times of academic journals, which adds to the pile of criticisms of the journal-based publication system. Since publishing times are inherent to the journal-based publication system, we suggest that incremental improvements may not sufficiently address the problems associated with publishing times. We therefore propose the adoption of a modular publication system to improve (WOP) publishing experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • meta-science
  • publication system
  • publishing times
  • satisfaction

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