Hi all. I recently submitted a paper to a 'B' journal in my field (good, but not one of the elites). I had told the editor I was planning to submit about 2 weeks before (I know her slightly, and had asked something about formatting). However I submitted on the 16th September, and the paper still shows 'Awaiting Reviewer Assignment'. This seems very slow and inefficient- to leave the paper sitting there for two weeks, gathering dust? In the past it has usually taken a few days, a week maximum (even at elite journals). Does anyone have similar experiences?
Whenever I have submitted journals, it has sometimes taken over a month to assign reviewers, then up to 6 months for the outcome to be reported. As most reviewers are typically active in academic posts, it is a very busy time with it being the start of a new academic year, so it may be taking a little longer to find people willing to review the paper.
I'm currently working as a journal assistant, well for the next 8 days, and 1 day if I can help it...
Anyway, yes that's quite a long time. Part of my job is to chase the associate editors if they don't assign reviewers within 2 days of the manuscript being assigned to them. However, I have seen cases where they assign lots of reviewers and no one will accept to review the paper, so it could be one of those situations, so it's not that they are not doing it, but that no one will accept to be a reviewer. Email the journal and chase if not assigned within another week.
Agree with above as well - this time can be busy due to start of academic year.
Probably it is that everyone they approach is refusing to review. It is after all not exactly a quiet time of year and both the journal editors and potential reviewers will have multiple other calls on their time. Only chase it up next week if you are a lab scientist. For social sciences a normal time in review is about 3 months and what you can see on the journal software is not necessarily a good guide to the reality. For humanities, I have heard 6 months is not unusual.
I'm not sure what field you are in, but coming from a background of publishing in psychology and epidemiology, I don't think two weeks is a very long time to wait - I imagine the reviewer request is sitting in someone's inbox while they are on holiday/busy/away sick.
Journals vary a lot in their response time, and actually, in my experience some of the 'elite' journals are quicker because they have more submissions to churn through and potentially more staff to do the leg work. I've got a manuscript sitting with a pretty average domestic journal at the moment, and it has been slowww because the editorial team all have other jobs and just do this on the side.
Thanks for your responses. Thanks for the reassurance that this is normal.
I'm in the social sciences. I've been advised by others to expect a 3 month review cycle.
I did notice that whereas the 'elite' journal that was previously more speedy had a separate admin not on the editorial team, the editors in this case are also the admins. Perhaps that's what's slowing things down.
I would hope people are not refusing to review it. I have suggested a few relevant reviewer (they enable you to do this), and it is a very interesting contemporary topic! Although I am biased ;)
It is just annoying as I rushed to get the paper in, only to see it sitting there!
I can only agree with everyone else who has said that 2 weeks is nothing to worry about. This is a very busy time of year (in my department teaching has just started, MSc assignments need marking, departmental strategies are being planned etc), or perhaps this paper is quite niche?
I submitted my last paper to a reasonably good journal in my field (not elite but OK) in January, it showed 'awaiting reviewer assignment' for 3 months, so I nagged them - and got a response that they had one review and were looking for another review (apparently they'd asked 8 people - which didn't seem very many to me), in June I nagged them again (they'd asked another 4 people), in July I got comments back from one reviewer and the editor. I responded and they accepted the paper in August and it was published in September - with minimal changes. I freely admit it isn't a very exciting paper, but it's necessary and I think the journal should have been more timely.
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