29

I have recently decided to no longer publish, or at least publish less, with a well respected journal in my field. How do I let the journal know in a meaningful way that the submission process is very painful?

The required Microsoft Word and LaTeX templates are extremely dated and do not match my (or anyones) workflow. The review time (6 months), number of reviewer (3-4), number of rounds of review (3-4), and delay from in press to available online (8 months) are all too much. The lack of communication is extreme. The online system tells you if the manuscript is on your desk or the journals desk and nothing more. Editors do not respond to queries other than to tell you it is being reviewed.

15

You may get the best response by using informal channels. If you know the managing editor of the journal (my field is small enough that I often do), you might send an informal email, or even just express your concern in person. As Ben Norris mentioned, the key is that you communicate in a calm, rational, and deliberative way.

  • 1
    Maybe you can approach the editor in an informal way at a conference. – cbeleites Feb 21 '14 at 22:38
10

Aside from writing a letter to their editor, I don't think there's much you can do, particularly if the journal is well-respected. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak. Unless you're the leading researcher in the journal's field, your ideological protest, while commendable, won't make the slightest difference to them.

  • Having given this answer, I would be most interested in hearing whether journals are open to feedback from the authors regarding the various processes (submission, review, communication, etc.). – eykanal Jul 30 '12 at 12:33
  • 5
    I agree that one complaint isn't likely to accomplish much on its own, but a steady stream of complaints from different people might get noticed. – Anonymous Mathematician Jul 30 '12 at 12:36
  • @Anon - True, and good luck getting that critical mass. – eykanal Jul 30 '12 at 12:51
  • @eykanal: it's not like the point would be to raise critical mass for some ethical principal or for common good. Authors hate to have their time wasted, and it is in the self-interest of any editorial board to get information on how much and in which way their peer-review process annoys authors. – Benoît Kloeckner Oct 13 '14 at 20:47
8

The best method to send the message that you disagree with one or more of its policies or practices to a journal is to stop publishing in it (regardless of prestige) and to convince as many of your like-minded colleagues to stop publishing in it as you can. Publicizing your intent in a calm, rational, and deliberative way, does not hurt, either. See the ongoing Elsevier Boycott, which has already gained the attention of Elsevier and earned some concessions from the publisher.

  • 2
    I think one should to talk to them first (which we did, with Elsevier). If they don't want to change, then you could go this route. – David Ketcheson Jul 31 '12 at 7:01
6

I am answering my own question with an option that hasn't been given yet. If the journal is linked to a society (which it is in this case) with an annual (biannual, etc.) conference, then there may be a special conference session on the journal which the managing editors attend. For the journal in question, the concerns have been raised at the annual meeting for the past few years and there is a growing community of dissatisfied people who are taking stances like mine.

-1

I suggest that you be very careful OP. Powerful people in the field can get pissed off over trivial things, even if you are trying to be polite and constructive. Don't make this move unless you are already a tenured faculty member at the place you want to spend the rest of your career.

If that isn't you yet, then you need to just bide your time. After tenure, you can contact all of your friends in the field, and maybe even one or two big wigs and start a little movement. Publish an open letter to the editor of the bad journal signed by all these people who say they aren't going to publish at that journal until they get their shit together. That's the only thing that would actually bring any pressure to bear on the editor.

But seriously, don't try to do that if you're still a junior person in the field.

  • You seem to suggest that the world is run by conspiracies and that trying to expose them will lead to bad things. That's a silly notion. References to "Powerful people", "don't make this move unless ...", etc, are simply not rational responses. – Wolfgang Bangerth Mar 30 '15 at 4:39

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