Advertisement

Publishing Research Quarterly

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 101–108 | Cite as

Excessively Long Editorial Decisions and Excessively Long Publication Times by Journals: Causes, Risks, Consequences, and Proposed Solutions

  • Jaime A. Teixeira da SilvaEmail author
  • Judit DobránszkiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Editors have very complex tasks and high responsibilities. In general, they are chosen leaders and experts in a field of study. Thus, they are expected to lead a sector of that scientific community, and their function is to serve as gate-keepers of the quality of submissions to journals whose editorial boards they serve because of their ethical and professional image, and positive and open engagement with their peers. Publishing a scientific paper can be an arduous task and in some cases a lengthy one. However, any delay in this process not only serves as a form of stress for authors, it may also disadvantage them by giving their competition an unfair advantage with a head start in the publishing rat race. Consequently, editors who oversee a process that takes an excessive or unreasonable amount of time should be held accountable. In this paper, we propose some suggested time limits for each stage of the publishing process. These should be carefully monitored by the editors, in close collaboration with the publisher, to ensure a fair and timely process that is realistic and reasonable. With clearer guidelines, authors can thus reduce their stress levels by knowing when to expect decisions, and can thus make their journal selection by keeping such factors in mind, and thus hedge their risks and better manage their time. Authors who wait almost indefinitely, or for excessively long periods of time, are victims of a lack of professionalism. Furthermore, editors who fail to communicate delays, effectively or at all, or who fail to offer any sufficient or heartfelt apology should be characterized as acting with professional negligence, if not misconduct. Only when the rules of engagement are fair, strict, clear and well defined can authors expect the publishing system to progress smoothly and professionally.

Keywords

Lack of incentives Procrastination Status quo Timely Competitive situation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Farrokh Habibzadeh, past President of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), and editorial consultant for The Lancet, for fruitful discussion on this topic.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. 1.
    Al-Khatib A, Teixeira da Silva JA. What rights do authors have? Sci Eng Ethics. 2016. doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9808-8.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology; 2016. http://www.scielo.br/revistas/babt/iinstruc.htm. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  3. 3.
    Bunner CBA, Larson ELRN, Faan CIC. Assessing the quality of the peer review process: author and editorial board member perspectives. Am J Infect Control. 2012;40:701–4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.05.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cell; 2016. http://www.cell.com/cell/authors. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  5. 5.
    Chen H, Chen CH, Jhanji V. Publication times, impact factors, and advance online publication in ophthalmology journals. Ophthalmology. 2013;120(8):1697–701. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.01.044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics). Code of conduct and best practice guidelines for journal editors; 2011. http://publicationethics.org/files/Code%20of%20Conduct_2.pdf. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  7. 7.
    CSE (Council of Science Editors). White paper on publication ethics; 2012. https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/resource-library/editorial-policies/white-paper-on-publication-ethics/. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  8. 8.
    Del Mar C, Hoffman TC. A guide to performing a peer review of randomised controlled trials. BMC Med. 2015;13:248. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0471-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dong P, Loh M, Mondry A. Publication lag in biomedical journals varies due to the periodical’s publishing model. Scientometrics. 2006;69(2):271–86. doi: 10.1007/s11192-006-0148-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ferguson C, Marcus A, Oransky I. Publishing: the peer-review scam. Nature. 2014;515:480–2. doi: 10.1038/515480a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hojat M, Gonnella JS, Caelleigh AS. Impartial judgment by the “gatekeepers” of science: fallibility and accountability in the peer review process. Adv Health Sci Educ. 2003;8:75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Javaid SA. Publication audit, editor’s triage and responsibilities of the editors. Pak J Med Sci. 2013;29(1):1–3. doi: 10.12669/pjms.291.3373.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Journal of Medical Ethics; 2016. http://jme.bmj.com/site/about/. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  14. 14.
    Kalcioglu MT, Ileri Y, Karaca S, Egilmez OK, Kokten N. Research on the submission, acceptance and publication times of articles submitted to international otorhinolaryngology journals. Acta Inf Med. 2015;23(6):379–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lin Z, Hou S, Wu J. The correlation between editorial delay and the ratio of highly cited papers in Nature, Science and Physical Review Letters. Scientometrics. 2016;107:1457–64. doi: 10.1007/s11192-016-1936-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mark Ware Consulting Ltd. Peer review in scholarly journals: perspective of the scholarly community—an international study. Commissioned and funded by the Publishing Research Consortium; 2008. p 16. http://www.publishingresearch.net/documents/PeerReviewFullPRCReport-final.pdf. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  17. 17.
    Mungra P, Webber P. Peer review process in medical research publications: language and content comments. Engl Specif Purp. 2010;29:43–53. doi: 10.1016/j.esp.2009.07.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Oransky I. Publishing gadfly demands journal editor’s resignation, then has “fairly incomprehensible” paper rejected; 2014. http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/21/publishing-gadfly-demands-journal-editors-resignation-then-has-fairly-incomprehensible-paper-rejected/. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  19. 19.
    Ragone A, Mirylenka K, Casati F, Marchese M. On peer review in computer science: analysis of its effectiveness and suggestions for improvement. Scientometrics. 2013;97:317–56. doi: 10.1007/s11192-013-1002-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
    Teixeira da Silva JA. Responsibilities and rights of authors, peer reviewers, editors and publishers: a status quo inquiry and assessment. Asian Australas J Plant Sci Biotechnol. 2013;7(special issue 1):6–15.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Teixeira da Silva JA. COPE code of conduct clause 3.1 under the microscope: a prelude to unfair rejections. Curr Sci. 2015;109(1):16–7.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Teixeira da Silva JA. On the abuse of online submission systems, fake peer reviews and editor-created accounts. Persona y Bioética. 2016;20(2):151–8.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Teixeira da Silva JA. Do zombie scientists and editors exhibit hubris, or blind courage? Focus Sci. 2016;2(4):2. doi: 10.21859/focsci-020446.
  26. 26.
    Teixeira da Silva JA, Al-Khatib A. How are editors selected, recruited and approved? Sci Eng Ethics. 2016. doi: 10.1007/s11948-016-9821-y.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Teixeira da Silva JA, Katavić V. Free editors and peers: squeezing the lemon dry. Ethics Bioeth. 2016;6(3–4) (in press).Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Thomson Reuters. Increasing the quality and timeliness of peer review: a report for scholarly publishers (white paper); 2011. http://scholarone.com/media/pdf/peerreviewwhitepaper.pdf. Last accessed 12 Nov 2016.
  29. 29.
    Waltham M. The future of scholarly journal publishing among social science and humanities associations report on a study funded by a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. J Sch Publ. 2010;41(3):257–324.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kita-gunJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute of Nyíregyháza, IAREFUniversity of DebrecenNyíregyházaHungary

Personalised recommendations