SciRev News

Average duration first review round 15 weeks
Published July 2014
SciRev data make clear that the duration of the first review round of the peer review process is on average 15 weeks and that it varies considerably among and within scientific fields. It is about 10 weeks in medical sciences, 14 weeks in natural sciences and 17 weeks in social sciences and humanities.

While writing a peer review may take between four and eight hours, in only 11% of reported cases authors were informed about the outcome in less than a month. In nearly half of the cases (46%), authors had to wait three months or more before being informed. In Social Sciences and Humanities, one fifth (21%) of authors even had to wait at least half a year.

It is yet unclear to what extent the long duration of the first review round is the result of the peer review process as such and to what extent it is due to (in)efficient manuscript handling at editorial offices.

Given that we found immediate rejection times to be often long (see here), it seems that inefficiencies at editorial offices are important. The finding that Medical Sciences

Immediate Rejection Time often too long
Published May 2014
SciRev data show that immediate rejection (IR) time is a major source of unnecessary time loss in the peer review process. This is the time it takes an editor to let you know not to be interested in your manuscript (and thus not to send it to reviewers).

The good news is that in almost half (46%) of reported IR cases the editor informed the authors within a week. However, our data also make clear that in 43% of cases IR-time was 14 days or more and in 22% it was at least four weeks. Several authors even had to wait for more than three months, or drew back their paper after hearing nothing for an even longer period.

The situation is best in the Biomedical Sciences, shortly followed by the Natural Sciences. Immediate rejection time is longest for researchers in the Social Sciences & Humanities, where in one-third of received cases it took the editor four weeks or more to inform the autor(s).

Reviewers are generally blamed for long processing times, but these findings indicate that manuscript handling at editorial offices is important too. If an editor needs a month for an IR decision, (s)he probably also takes (too) much time for finding reviewers and processing review reports.

Time loss due to inefficient editorial processes is unnecessary and can be prevented by organizing things better. Our finding that in about half of IR cases authors were informed within a week shows that this is very well possible.

Detailed statistics available here.