How much time do editors and referees spend on submissions?

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In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

How much time do editors/referees spend on average reading submissions before making a decision? Do they read them more than once?

Interesting questions. It would be great to hear from readers (both editors and reviewers), but I suspect there is huge variance. As an another reader writes in the following submitted reply:

I suspect the average would be misleading — a distribution would be much more helpful. Such info, while likely not feasibly accessible, would be interesting to see (probably there’s a *huge* variety).

In my own case as a reviewer, how long I take on a paper depends on many things: how long and complex the paper is, how good I think it is, how certain I initially am about the recommendation I plan to make to the editors (sometimes I know that I want to recommend reject, accept, R&R-major revisions, etc.; other times I waffle), how much work I think a paper needs if I recommend an R&R (as in these cases I write extremely detailed reports specifying exactly what issues need to be addressed for me to recommend acceptance), and so on. Then, of course, there is my personal and professional schedule. Some times of the year are busier than others with teaching, family obligations, service obligations at my university, research (sometimes I have revise-and-resubmits and other research deadlines to meet too!), and sometimes these things can be planned for but other times not. All of these things and more result in huge variance in how long it takes me to get a referee report done. Sometimes I get reports done well in advance of the journal’s deadline (in fact, sometimes after just a few days or weeks), but sometimes it takes considerably longer. In any case, I have a policy of meeting journal deadlines, and I’d never not complete a report on time (or at most a day or two late).

But this is just my experience. What are yours? It would be great to hear from reviewers and editors! 

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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