Yet again one of my papers is just stuck in limbo at a journal for over 6 months now. One referee has seemingly returned his review and the second referee is playing truant.
I knew this after a polite email to the administrative secretary 3 months after submission. She promised to send an email to nudge the late referee.
Now, after 6 months, I write to the editor in chief to get to know what is going on and he has not bothered to reply for over 2 weeks now.
When I review for this same journal, all of my reviews are returned in time. I setup a google calender reminder 2 weeks prior to my the deadline that I accept and then push everything aside for those 2 weeks to turn in a high quality report. I am going to politely decline any more invitations to review from this journal. The journal is prestigious but there are other less prestigious journals that offer faster review times. At some point in time, the prestige of the journal has to make way for faster dissemination of important results.
I also suspect that the journal is clubby. I have seen rotten articles written by folks in "elite" universities while I have had rejections from that journal even though I proved more theoretical results on a problem (I am an operations researcher) that was published in the same journal. I suspect the journal worries about the authors' zipcode. I published this article in a different journal eventually.
Is there any website where one can anonymously record such experiences for various journals? Once the website gains sufficient traffic, the editorial board of the journals would hopefully be forced to take notice and set right some of the rotten processes.