journal review time poll

I once had a manuscript held for 24 months by a journal, only to be handed a one sentence rejection letter. Another journal lost my paper three times. Last year, I got a rejection letter for a paper submitted about 14 months before hand. While I (grudgingly) respect an editor’s decision to reject my paper, I definitely think it’s bad when they hold it for years. To be blunt, they’re wasting my time. Long times usually have negative professional consequences.

I am trying to get a sense of how bad review times are. So please answer the following questions. For each journal, indicate how long it typically takes for your paper to be returned with a decision. Only answer if you have actually submitted an article to the journal. Also, if you have had an unusually bad experience with a journal, please use the comments section. Anonymous comments encouraged.

UPDATE: Just added some more management journals at the end. And please scroll through the whole list. I don’t want this to be biased toward the first few journals that came to mind.


Written by fabiorojas

August 15, 2011 at 12:14 am

Posted in academia, fabio

14 Responses

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  1. Why limit this to sociology journals? You should add a few more of the management/OT journals – Organization Science, AMJ, AMR, etc.



    August 15, 2011 at 12:24 am

  2. @AOMattendee: ASQ is in there… but yes, let me add a few more…



    August 15, 2011 at 12:39 am

  3. See a similar poll, mor qualittative here, worth submitting your experiences



    August 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

  4. I would only note that my career now spans multiple editorial generations so my response time at Social Forces, for example, might be significantly longer than those who have submitted in the recent past. We would expect these large standard deviations in responses at particularly bad journals…or at journals that have substantially changed their editorial practices, e.g., ASR moving to online submission.


    Jenn Lena

    August 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

  5. Pray tell, Fabio. What journal took 24 months? And which one lost your manuscript three times?

    I hope to be cautious sending my work to those places!



    August 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

  6. is this time to FIRST decision, or time to FINAL decision? I’m guessing first submission and responding appropriately.

    I had an R&R at AJS that no one had responded to after 7+ months, despite a number of inquiring emails; turns out they said they couldn’t find reviewers (??) but, when poked by someone with more status than myself, immediately found those reviewers… and rejected me 2 months later.



    August 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

  7. One thing about journal wait times and quality of editorial handling. When it comes to the top journals (and some top specialty journals such as Social Networks, SPQ, JMF, etc.), this is unlikely to affect your behavior. The top journals have a monopoly on the distribution of the rewards that matter, so you are likely to put up with whatever shoddy treatment they dispense, and still consider them first when you have a quality paper in the future. I’ve found that for me quality matters much more when I have papers that are not going to go to top journals but which I’m looking to place a paper in the mid-tier generalist journals (Social Science Research, Sociological Forum, Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Perspectives, etc. the same should apply to mid-tier outlets in management). In attempting to publish and in reviewing in/for this outlets, I’ve found that there’s important variance in the quality of editorial handling and wait times, and that this variance is much more likely to affect my future behavior, in terms of whether I submit to that place or not in the future. So my sense is that paradoxically, it is these mid tier places that should care the most about how they treat authors, because it is where variances in quality are most salient and where interchangeability is highest (authors—and gatekeepers—are generally indifferent for instance as to whether your paper came out in Sociological Forum or Sociological Perspectives).



    August 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

  8. The 24 month hold was at JoMath Soc. Lost three times was Social Networks. Both under previous editors, the new management at both journals is quick.



    August 17, 2011 at 2:49 am

  9. All in all I’ve had what I suppose you’d call average experiences, in terms of the scales at work in these surveys, and certainly nothing like your experiences Fabio – that’s awful! (I voted on three of the above, otherwise have mostly gone with urban-focused or other journals not included here.) But that’s not to say I don’t think it takes way too long. In my experience it has as much to do with reviewers (and authors!) as the journals/editors themselves… As we all know, as a reviewer there is essentially no incentive to get comments back at any point prior to the last minute, and journals tend to give generous deadlines.

    This is something we’ve been working on at Scholastica (, and we’ve found many similar complaints. This post is really helpful for thinking through these things, thanks!



    August 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm

  10. My paper has by now been under review at AJS for more than a year. But what frustrates me most is that they don’t even respond to my several politely inquiring e-mails. When my more prestigious coauthor wrote an e-mail she at least got a generic response saying that the paper is still under review (well, at least they didn’t lose it), but we still have no clue what’s going on. This kind of conduct is really damaging to social science, not to mention individual careers.



    August 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm

  11. I’m a grad student and I’ve been waiting 6 months to hear back on a manuscript. I thought I was the only having this problem. I’ll be on the market next year and I’m hoping to have something in print by then. I’m keeping my fingers crossed…


    Marc (@ohnezu)

    August 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm

  12. Oh its horror stories for beginners of Academic journey …



    September 7, 2011 at 4:25 am

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