Problem: The number and quality of submissions to the publisher’s major basic science journal are decreasing and the journal’s impact factor is declining. Research being published in the field is actually increasing, but authors are submitting their work elsewhere.

Research Question: What should the publisher do to increase the number of quality manuscript submissions to its flagship journal?


  • Interviewed key editorial and business staff
  • Conducted online survey of authors and prospective authors

Survey Design

  • Included questions about factors influencing submission decisions, number of submissions to journal and elsewhere, satisfaction with peer review and publishing process, and demographics
  • Incorporated mix of useful closed- and open-ended questions tied to research question

Data Analysis

  • Generated frequency tables
  • Applied filters and compared responses between cohorts
  • Analyzed open-ended responses to identify tendencies
  • Compared results from this survey with similar KWF Consulting surveys
  • Presented findings in narrative, tabular, and graphical formats


Following is a small sampling of top-line recommendations offered by KWF Consulting, based on the evidence provided by the research:

  • Methodically increase global representation on editorial board
  • Retrain and refresh peer reviewers and monitor reviews
  • Encourage submissions from international and early-career scientists
  • Promote specific benefits of improved author services and policies


KWF Consulting produced a strategic marketing plan designed to drive manuscript submissions and usage, and bolster the journal’s reputation.

KWF Consulting is a leading management consultancy serving the scholarly publishing community.

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