I submitted a paper to an economics journal. They have promptly replied to let me know that the review process generally takes 12 to 18 months. I also have to give them a go-ahead confirming their policies before they can begin the review (so I could effectively withdraw at this point). Since this is my first paper, I do not want to be too picky about journal timelines. However, I also planned to apply for a PhD at the end of the year (less than 12 months), and was hoping for a better chance to be able to put a publication on my CV.

My question being: should I attempt to get published faster with a different journal, or is this timeline of 12-18 months acceptable to stick around with?

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    Submission times vary between journals and between disciplines, and I can't comment on economics journals. For your PhD application, you could always list the manuscript as under review, hence, all is not lost if the manuscript isn't published. – user2768 Jan 28 at 17:26
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    I work in a field (not economics) where a review process takes 1.5-2 years. (And it takes another year after the article has been accepted for it to actually appear). Everyone in the field knows that. A paper is not discounted just because it is under review. Any concern about the quality of the work can be addressed by a quick reading of the paper. – Aditya Jan 28 at 17:57
  • Do you have another journal in mind that has a similar reputation but is substantially faster? I Would not sacrifice impact for speed. – Dawn Jan 28 at 23:11
  • This is a very good question to ask, because it is so very field specific. In computer science-related areas, this would be a crazy long amount of time - yet in economics I'm told that a year or more is not at all uncommon (and that most papers are rejected multiple times if you target top journals, so stories detailing 5+ years in review are not uncommon either) - but I'm not familiar enough first-hand with econ to give a confidence answer of the current norms in the field over all. – BrianH Jan 28 at 23:20
  • I assume that is turnaround time conditional on the paper going out to reviewers, correct? – Dawn Jan 29 at 0:32

I advise to move to a faster journal AND to make sure the papers are absolutely as clean as you can make them in logic, writing, etc. so that they fly through reviews.

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