Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Editor Notes

Vacation: Cancelled due to JSR….?

At the Journal of Sedimentary Research, we are very fortunate to have a host of reviewers willing to comment on manuscripts and to assist authors in developing the highest quality manuscripts with the greatest impact.  We thank them for all of their time and efforts in this largely thankless job.

As with most scientific journals, we utilize the peer-review system, which requires the input of two (or more) impartial, external reviewers, an associate editor, and an editor.  These colleagues willingly volunteer their time to provide feedback and constructive suggestions for improvement, and as such, provide a service to authors, to the journal, and to the Society.

Yet, some reviewers are not prompt in returning their comments; this delay stalls the entire process, and precludes our providing authors a decision in short order. 

We had a series of comments from two authors recently that we considered interesting, and perhaps could serve as informative and educational. Please read on.

--------------------------AUTHOR #1--------------------------

Author to Editor:

Hi everybody,

concerning the time our manuscript is submitted and in review i would like to learn about a definite deadline in order to achieve some kind of progress. If there are profound difficulties with the reviews or with the reviewers, please inform me in due time so that i can discuss with my co-authors to withdraw and to send-submit somewhere else,

this manuscript is not too demanding to review, i am a reviewer by myself, i simply need to know whether you are willing to handle the manuscript in an efficient manner or whether it is resting somewhere with somebody who simply does not care enough about his former acceptance, i hope you understand...

[Signed, Author]

Reply to Author from JSR Staff
Dear ****:

Thank you for your query.  As an author, I certainly appreciate your desire for rapid publication.  As an editor, I share your wish that reviews be thorough, fair, constructive….and prompt.

Yet, as commonly happens in a peer review system, we are slowed by the time it takes reviewers to return their comments.  These types of delays are especially acute in the summer, when folks experience the pressures of field work, vacations, and other responsibilities out of the office. 

With regards to your manuscript, ...[boring details of where the manuscript stands now]

[Signed, Editor]

Reply to Editor

Dear [Editor],

i agree with all what you said, except that i consider the acceptance to review a manuscript as a very serious committment, one becomes part of the process, others worked hard, no space for playing around, no space to leave for vacation...,

please let me know whether this manuscript has any future with JSR,

[Signed, Author]

-------------------------- AUTHOR #2--------------------------

After several rounds of “when is the status of the manuscript?”/”with reviewers or the AE,” an author was informed that “The editor is away (fieldwork …), so even if the AE finished his decision, we would need to wait for [his] return.”

Author to Editor:
 The part that puzzles me is that there is alternative or replacement for [editor] if he is traveling for extensive periods of time. It appears that no executive decisions can be made at JSR when he is gone. I find that strange. The whole journal comes to a grinding halt?” [The editor was still waiting for reviews.]

Author to Editor:  After a week, the author exclaimed:
I am REALLY running out of patience here.
        If JSR wants me to do reviews and expects me to do them in a timely manner, then I think it only fair that my own submissions are turned around in a timely manner. This, however, is clearly not happening. The reviews came in several weeks ago, and I still have not any editorial decision.
        I will not do the pending review of ms. Paper #### (which I promised [an AE] to do) until my own pending submission is finally processed.
[Signed, Author]”

--------------------------A Solicitation for Feedback--------------------------
In light of the obvious angst and carefully considered thoughts of these authors, we have deliberated about the issue.  As noted in our reply, we all want careful, insightful, constructive …but rapid… reviews. 

After much debate amongst the editorial staff, we have decided to leave it open to the JSR – Paper Clips community:


We appreciate your feedback via the comment box below.

No comments:

Post a Comment