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A new study surveying authors from a range of countries investigates the crucial differences between authors who publish in high- and low-impact factor medical journals. This original research shows that the growth of open access hasn’t significantly changed the publishing landscape as regards impact factor.

The authors, Carlos Eduardo Paiva et al, from Brazil, collected responses from 269 participants who had published in 30 journals which they grouped according to low and high impact factor. The survey evaluated the personal characteristics of the researchers, their perceptions of the barriers to the development of research, the process of manuscript writing and journal publication and work-life balance, career satisfaction and motivation.

The main indicator for the increased likelihood of publishing in a higher impact factor journal was living in a country where English is the official language, which was associated with an almost threefold greater chance of publication. This factor was more relevant than being located in a wealthy country. However, living in a country with a higher per capita gross domestic product was still associated with a greater chance of being published in a high-impact journal.

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