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I found a question (What are "fake", "shady", and/or "predatory" journals?) regarding a list of predatory journals (https://web.archive.org/web/20170111172309/https://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/). This list is said to record many fake or shady publishers.

I am under special circumstances where I would benefit from "speedy" publication but I by no means want to avoid peer editing and submit to falsifiable journals. I have found many shady sites such as http://gssrr.org, which I assume are scams (they look really scammy to me) but are not on the aforementioned list.

I want to avoid things like this at all cost. My question is how/where to search for reputable journals that have a fast publication time (maybe journals which publish short articles?).

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    Almost no reputable mathematician (I do know one individual exception) will promise to complete a review of a paper in less than 2 months. This is a hard lower bound on the expected time for legitimate review of a mathematics paper. Indeed, in mathematics, promising quick review is a very strong sign of a shady journal. – Alexander Woo Oct 2 '18 at 22:02
  • If I may ask a specific question, does that mean "Applied Mathematics Letters," from Elsevier (journals.elsevier.com/applied-mathematics-letters), is fraudulent? – Tejas Rao Oct 2 '18 at 23:41
  • I don't think it's fraudulent, but I also don't see where it promises a specific timeframe for review. It promises 3 months for research announcements, but I think they mean 3 months from acceptance, not 3 months from submission, and, in any case, it's a lot less work to review an announcement than a paper (because you don't have to check the details to see if it's correct). – Alexander Woo Oct 3 '18 at 0:39
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You could post a pre-print to arxiv while your paper is in submission. That offers a compromise. Your paper appears publicly with a time stamp within a few days and in due course you will get a “proper” peer-reviewed publication.

Unfortunately peer review is hard to accelerate, since the reviewers are unpaid and busy. (Some economics journals offer money as an incentive, but even that doesn’t always work.) All the journals are going to ask more or less the same people to review, so they are all going to be equally slow. Any journal offering rapid peer review is making a promise they can’t keep.

One other thing you can try is to submit to a peer-reviewed conference. (This is standard in computer science, but rare elsewhere.) Conferences have a fixed turnaround time (usually 2-4 months), since there is a physical conference that needs to be arranged.

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Since you mentioned mathematics in the comments: The Notices of the AMS publishes data from participating journals on this every year. The most recent seems to be here. Obviously not all journals are listed but this should give you a rough idea of the timeframe.

But in my opinion the best option, if possible, is to ask your colleagues (or your professors, if you're a student) where they had the best experience publishing. You'll get better advice from someone who knows a little about your work.

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Any journal that promises a fast turnaround time isn't being completely truthful because it's just not something the journal has firm control over. Even if the editors drop everything to handle the paper immediately every time the status progresses, they have no direct control the reviewers. Reviewers can decline. Reviewers can agree to review but fail to actually submit a review. Reviewers can submit reviews late. Reviewers can write bad reviews.

A journal can say something like "our average time to first decision is 34.6 days", but to say "we will definitely make a first decision in [timeframe]" is dishonest unless the timeframe is so long (say, two years) that the statement is useless.

Therefore, pick a suitable non-predatory journal and submit your manuscript. Don't worry too much about the turnaround time - it's not something that you (or they) can realistically control.

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