Mark Twain (1835–1910), the American novelist and short-story writer, was rightfully renowned for his wit and wisdom. His aphorisms are timeless, as useful today as they were a century ago. Recently, as we reflected on the year past, we were struck by the continued increase in the number of newly submitted manuscripts to Stem Cells. Looking at the escalating numbers, this editor was reminded of Twain when he observed that, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.” In this case, the facts stubbornly reveal that the Journal's submission of new and revised manuscripts during 2006 increased approximately 25% above that of 2005 (Fig. 1).
Here are a few additional facts:
During 2006, 1,278 decisions were rendered, up from 922 decisions during 2005.
Manuscript rejection rate during 2006 climbed to 61.9%, an increase from 53.5% set in 2005.
Almost 10% of newly submitted manuscripts received “rapid rejection,” most within 2 weeks of submission.
Even with increasingly stringent acceptance criteria, Stem Cells published a record 316 papers in 2,890 pages.
Stem Cells is now published monthly.
During 2006, an average of 2.3 manuscripts were submitted each day (unless you reckon that there are only five “working days per week,” in which case, an average of 3.2 manuscripts were submitted each “working day”).
We best stop here before we use statistics like the last one to analyze the facts. Otherwise, we might have to invoke another Mark Twain aphorism, namely, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It is a fact that 2006 was a record-setting year for Stem Cells, made so by our authors, editors, editorial board, and dedicated editorial staff. It is another fact that in this current year, 2007, the Journal celebrates its 25th anniversary. Yes, it is a fact that a quarter of a century ago the Journal was founded and, even then, called Stem Cells. And that is a fact…not a statistic.
Martin J. Murphy