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Published on Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Report on Applied Animal Science

David K. Beede, PhD, PAS, Dipl. ACAS, editor-in-chief of AAS

Report for January 1–December 31, 2020

This report is divided into three parts:

  1. Performance data and summary comments about the submission/review/editorial/publication process of Applied Animal Science (AAS) for 2020 compared with the previous four years
  2. Activities and changes in 2020
  3. Anticipated work and activities for 2021

The journal can be found at via the ARPAS member/JBS webpages or the Elsevier/Science Direct webpage.


  1. Performance data about the submission/review/editorial/publication process in 2020 (January–December) compared with previous four years

    Summary comments: For 2020 there were a total of 156 new submissions (Table 1). This is a 30% increase in number of submissions over the average of the last four years. Overall acceptance rate was 57% in 2020, which is about 13 percentage units less than the previous two years (with the same scientific editors). Nonetheless, in 2020, 94 articles were published, which is 30% more than in the previous two years. Total pages published (898 pages) increased 36% over the previous two years (Table 1). There were 21 articles published via Open Access (OA), which was a 1.9- to 3.5-fold increase over any other single year (2016–2019). Decision to publish OA is made solely by the authors after acceptance, just before publication.

    Review process metrics overall improved or stayed similar over the last three years, with average time in review of 117 days, average production time of 61 days, and total review process time of 178 days from submission to decision in 2020 (Table 1).

    The distribution of article types remained relatively similar to the last four years, with 74% original research articles, 11% review or invited review articles, and 15% short communications in 2020 (Table 2). This distribution of article types is consistent with what Elsevier experts indicate is an appropriate “mix” for Impact Factor evaluation of AAS. However, please note that there has been no effort on the part of editorial staff to influence this mix, which is solely dependent on the types of manuscripts that are submitted and accepted after review.

    Table 1. Journal Submissions, Review, and Publication Data (compiled by S. Pollock, FASS).

    Table 2. Published Articles by Manuscript Type (compiled by S. Pollock, FASS).

    1. Support and Marketing
      1. Kristin Hales (Texas Tech University; beef cattle/ruminants, harvest/post-harvest, and related environmental topics) joined as an associated editor in 2020. Continuing as associate editors were Eric van Heugten (North Carolina State University; swine/nonruminants) and Stacey Gunter (USDA/ARS; beef cattle/ruminants and grazing forages/pastures). Social Media Editor Miriam Snider (University of Vermont) continued in 2020.
      2. FASS staff working with AAS were Susan Pollock (managing editor and FASS director of publications), Christine Horger (lead technical editor), Shauna Miller (ScholarOne Manuscripts support), and Ron Keller (production). Becky Collins was the publisher from Elsevier.
      3. Applied Animal Science was published online only beginning in 2020; the print version was discontinued as a cost savings and because of the small number of print subscribers.
      4. A new cover design for AAS to illustrate science and interaction of people with animals in the animal sciences and production systems was instituted in 2020.
      5. Marketing: Worldwide calls for manuscript submissions were made by Elsevier marketing three times in 2020 using their databases and networks to prospective animal scientist authors (including United States). There was some increase in international submissions, likely resulting from the calls for submission. However, the actual numbers of these manuscripts that were reviewed and accepted was relatively small because of the relevance of topics, acceptability and power of experimental design, and quality of the science.
      6. Invitations were made to selected individuals to write and submit invited reviews to AAS. Eight invited reviews were published in 2020 compared with 12 in 2019 and 4 in 2018.
      7. Twenty press releases about AAS articles were issued in 2020. They were the following:
      8. Official letters of thanks were sent via email to each reviewer of 2020 manuscripts; more than 200 volunteer experts reviewed one or more manuscript submissions. A listing of all reviewers for 2020 is posted at the journal link on the ARPAS member website.
      9. Application was made to Clarivate for an Impact Factor in October 2020, facilitated by Elsevier experts who make such applications. We expect a decision on the application in 8 to 12 months.
    2. Review and Publication Updates
      1. Continued: Collecting ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) from authors via the ScholarOne site; for authors who have ORCIDs in their accounts, the numbers are published on final articles. More about ORCIDs:
        1. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier (an ORCID ID) that an author owns and controls and that distinguishes the person from every other researcher. Authors can connect their ID with other professional information—affiliations, grants, publications, peer review, and more. The ID can be used to share information with other systems, ensuring that authors get recognition for all of their contributions, saving time and hassle, and reducing the risk of errors.
        2. It is a benefit that AAS offers its authors.
      2. Continued: FundRef iCal (calendar reminders) in ScholarOne/MC letters with due dates to help authors, reviewers, and editors meet deadlines from the peer-review system.
      3. Continued: FundRef CRediT taxonomy used in the manuscript submission process. Authors can use tick boxes to designate co-author contributions (type and level) to their submitted paper. We are not currently using this information but are tracking it for potential future use in journal and publishing decision making.
      4. Continued: FundRef module use in the manuscript submission process. This allows authors to include funding agency and grant numbers during the submission process. This information is collected at author proofs if not submitted before then (and published on final papers); this assists the technical editor in collecting the information further upstream.
    3. Anticipated work and activities in 2021 and forward
      1. Continuing associate editors (AE) in 2021: Eric van Heugten (North Carolina State University; swine/nonruminants) and Kristin Hales (Texas Tech University; beef cattle/food science/environmental) began January 1, 2020. Stacey Gunter (USDA/ARS; beef cattle/ruminants, pasture forages) has asked to be replaced in 2021 after serving as AE since 2012. Daniel Rivera (Mississippi State University; beef cattle/ruminants and grazing forages/pastures) became AE, January 1, 2021.
      2. Continue quarterly invitations from editor-in-chief to prospective authors to write and submit invited reviews to AAS.
      3. Continue press releases monthly or quarterly based on journal articles in each issue and any other associated industry or ARPAS events.
      4. Continue letter of thanks to all reviewers and post to webpages the names of all reviewers in 2021.
      5. Marketing plan for 2021 in conjunction with Elsevier.
        1. April campaign: Promote three published authors’ stories: Objectives are to promote benefits of publishing in AAS and to attract high-quality submissions. A global audience of top authors, affiliations, and institutions will be targeted through paid and organic social media channels.
        2. September campaign: Editor’s choice article collection: Objectives are to promote article readership and citations and to encourage high-quality submissions. The email campaign will be supported via organic and paid social media channels highlighting the selected articles.
        3. Call for papers campaign on a specific topic area for a themed issue: Objective is to attract high-quality submissions for the themed issue. Call for papers campaign for a themed issue, which can include an invited review as well as two to three themed research papers within a full issue. The call for papers will be promoted on the journal homepage and be supported by an email and social media campaign.
        4. Themed collection campaigns (two–three campaigns): Objectives are to promote the collections, increasing awareness of changes to the journal scope and encouraging submission of international high-quality submissions. Campaigns will include an email and social media campaign.
          Related to c and d above: We have received input from editorial board members with ideas and suggestions for themed parts of issues or whole issues. Currently we are discussing options and opportunities with some who suggested the ideas about "guest editorship(s)" possibilities and how we might procure and package some of the publication costs to make writing invited papers more attractive to authors in themed issues.
        5. Elsevier (Rebekah Collins) to apply for PubMed indexing of AAS in 2021: Objective is to increase awareness of indexation and attract submissions. Campaign announcing PubMed indexation, if approved in 2021. The campaign will include an email and social media campaign.
        6. Social media campaign: Refer to report of Miriam Snider, social media editor.


Miriam Snider, MS, PAS

Social Media Efforts and Metrics

Since July 2019, ARPAS in conjunction with Elsevier has launched a social media campaign to draw attention to ARPAS and the journal Applied Animal Science (formerly The Professional Animal Scientist). Plans were made during the July 2019 meeting to launch a Twitter account highlighting the journal as well as related journals, articles, and conferences.

Current Efforts and Analytics: 2019–2020
As of July 2019, ARPAS has launched the account Applied Animal Science. Typically, the most traffic is noted when we post original content and tag the corresponding universities or researchers. I have been trying to form collaborations/network with other journals (JDS, JAS, etc.) and universities by following them on Twitter and retweeting some of their more high-profile tweets.

I also put out a weekly article from the journal, press reviews, conference reminders, workshops, policy news, member highlights, and AAS submission guidelines when possible. I try to interact and draw attention to our page by tagging people, universities, and industries involved in the research published in AAS.

Finally, I use social media analytics to give me an idea of our demographic, what works, and what doesn’t and to tweet out prewritten tweets if I’m away from my phone or computer for an extended period of time. Overall, everything is based on promoting the journal. We have briefly discussed utilizing a Facebook page or Instagram account but nixed that idea because Instagram is so image driven.

  • We are currently following 288 accounts and have 95 followers.
  • We have tweeted and retweeted content around 133 times.
  • Our tweets have earned 247 impressions in the past 28 days (or 8 impressions per day).
  • Our most influential month was September with an engagement rate of 1.9%, 5 link clicks, and 445 impressions over 30 days.
  • Since the beginning of January, we have had 129 tweet impressions, 7 profile visits, and 6 new followers.

User Demographics
Our biggest reach (28% of the audience) has been professionals and technical personnel followed by homemakers (24%) and self-employed individuals (20%). Our top follower has been Andy Vance from the podcast Feedstuffs. It might be a good idea to reach out to him since he has a decently large following and might be able to help promote the journal to extension professionals and other interested parties.

Conclusions and Moving Forward
Students were our lowest reached audience (6%). Therefore, efforts should be made to reach a younger audience. More effort/ideas should be put forth to earn attention and get retweets. It might be a good idea to have our account promoted, although this does cost money. Finally, I also think it would be a good idea to highlight some of the regional chapters/members through photos or even small interviews. That might be well received and help us gain a larger following as it puts faces to names.

2020–2021 Update
We continue to grow our follower base and cross-post regularly with our ARPAS Twitter account. This month I am launching a more comprehensive campaign with our Facebook and Instagram accounts to receive more viewership. I am currently using open-source graphics software to create images announcing every opportunity for CEUs and reposting these images every few days. As well as creating images that will be useful for Instagram, I am reaching out to departmental and extension accounts to increase our followers.

Twitter continues to be our most successful social media outlet, especially in conjunction with the Applied Animal Science account. Our accounts continue to receive a steady stream of followers, but we could be better. What seems to be helping with outreach is contacting extension and departmental Twitter accounts. It may be helpful to send out a formal email to department heads advertising our social media presence.

Another item that may be useful for outreach regarding the journal is creating a webinar series about AAS. Journal of Dairy Science currently has a three-part series about the journal, how to publish with them, and journal guidelines. Their first webinar had more than 250 registrants. If we follow a similar model, this might be helpful with garnering authorship.

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Categories: Reports, March 2021