Very simple question. Reading some Q&A here and experience from my own papers and reviews I'm actually wondering when and how often the associate editor managing a possible review process of a submitted paper declines to start the process.
Maybe for not reaching formal standards of the journal, or wrong scope. If these points are fullfilled, will the associate editor always start to look for appropriate reviewers?
Once I heard in a talk of a physical review letters employee they get 10.000 submissions per year and 1.000 articles are finally published. I cannot believe they start 10.000 review processes, this would be a waste of everybody's time. On the other side every physicist knows PRL is the most prestigious journal in the field and you cannot submit garbage. So I believe most of the 10.000 submissions fulfill the formal standards. Based on which criterions the associate editor will then not start the review process? Age/quality of references, abstract, his historic and topical background and expertise? I never was associate editor myself but I guess they don't read the full article, but skim abstract, introduction, figures, references and conclusion maybe?