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I sent two different articles to two different mathematics journal. The fist one review process is 6 months(accepted). The second one is still under review(14 months ago) and it may be rejected. A third one took 9 months and editor said
"... the topic/content of your study is outside our journal's area of interest, we regret to inform you that we are unable to consider your manuscript for publication"
My questions

  1. Is there any way to avoid time wasting in review process?
  2. Are there journals with fast reviewing process?
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    Long review process (an aside) I once heard a lecture by the Chinese number theorist Hua Luogeng. At one point he discussed one of his results, then the slide showed the journal name, with date of submission and date of publication. He paused while we looked at the 10-year gap between. Then he explained that the intervening period was the "Cultural Revolution" in China. – GEdgar Feb 2 '15 at 15:55
  • There is an emerging trend in post-publication peer review but it doesn't seem to be a usual thing currently. – Trylks Feb 3 '15 at 11:45
  • @GEdgar how can one avoid this? Do you think it is a good idea to search for fast publishing journals? – Semsem Feb 4 '15 at 16:37
  • While the times you give are probably above average, I would say they are not wildly unusual for maths. – Jessica B Feb 4 '15 at 17:03
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Are there journals with fast reviewing process?

The really quick ones are the "questionable" journals ... every paper is accepted, and published (for a hefty fee).

The Notices of the American Mathematical Society publishes a survey once a year, which includes information on mathematics journals, including statistics on time from submission to publication (when available).

added

"Backlog of Mathematics Research Journals" Notices of the AMS, Volume 61, Number 10, November 4, 2014, page 1268.

  • First, I am searching for journal with non-zero impact factor. Second I searched Notices of AMS and I did not find such statistics, kindly post a link if possible. – Semsem Feb 4 '15 at 16:24
  • Do you think it is a good idea to search for a fast publishing journals? – Semsem Feb 4 '15 at 16:33
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Is there any way to avoid wasting time in the review process?

Before submitted you can send the paper to the editor and ask whether s/he considers the paper to be in scope for the journal. This can be eased by providing a good, short overview of the paper, along with the paper itself.

  • I did this for the last one (14 months). The main problem is the review process time. – Semsem Feb 4 '15 at 16:25
  • @Semsem: Ideally, asking the editor for his/her opinion should avoid the whole review process altogether, for papers out of scope. – Dave Clarke Feb 4 '15 at 19:28
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One option would be Peerage of science, http://peerageofscience.com/, which is a service through which you can request peer reviews (which are also reviewed) for your articles and review the articles of others. There are, however, two problems, one of them significant:

  1. The review criteria are not a good fit for mathematics articles. This is a minor issue, really, but annoying. See below for more details.
  2. To my knowledge, the service is not popular among mathematicians. This can be slowly changed by using the service, but there is no immediate solution. The service is free for scientists.

Quality indices at Peerage of science are: question, data, methods, inference, writing. Of these, data is not relevant for pure mathematics, and both methods and inference require interpretation.

The refereeing format is standardised and there is plenty of room for discussion, so one is in now way communicating only through the five indices.

Why it might become popular among mathematicians

The main users of Peerage are biologists (of certain subfields), but the benefits are common to all fields of science where one publishes articles: One can request a peer review and then, when submitting to a journal, tell that the article has already been peer reviewed, with a link to the review. The journal, of course, is free to do their own review, if that is what they would rather do. If the article is rejected, then one can send it to another journal and share the same review at Peerage. This reduces the work load of referees and editors and speeds up the process for authors.

The peer reviews are reviewed, so their credibility is also measured.

The reviewers can get their work recognised. One can get credit as an excellent reviewer, for example.

There are further benefits with respect to some journals that are linked to the service, but I don't think this is relevant to mathematicians at this point.

  • I'm a mathematician, and I've not heard of this site before. If you'll forgive two naive questions: 1) In what way are the review criteria not a good fit for mathematics articles? 2) Given 1), why would the service become popular among mathematicians? – Pete L. Clark Feb 2 '15 at 23:31
  • @PeteL.Clark I expanded the answer. – Tommi Feb 3 '15 at 9:03
  • Cell published an interesting article about PoS: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534712000249 and the answer of the authors: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534712000250 – Davidmh Feb 3 '15 at 9:35
  • @DaveClarke I am not affiliated with Peerage (though my university is). I would like it to be used in mathematics and do believe it would be useful. Advertising in the sense of sharing something useful, but not in any negative sense, I hope. Is this in some way different from mentioning Notices of AMS, for example? – Tommi Feb 3 '15 at 9:44
  • Thanks for the clarification Tommi. I'll retract my comment. – Dave Clarke Feb 3 '15 at 10:02
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You can send a pre-submission inquiry to the journal editor with a summary of your research. Make sure you cover the following areas in your summary as these are some of the things editors need to know about your study to be able to judge whether they would be interested in it: 1. the subject area of your research; 2. its significance to your field of study and to the scientific community in general; 3. some idea of the nature of evidence provided to support the findings; 4. a brief explanation of what previous work on the topic has shown and what significant contribution this study makes.

You can send pre-submission inquiries to multiple journals at a time, so you can save a lot of time this way.

  • It is a good idea and i did it before in the third article(14 months till now), but the main problem is the review process time. Do think it is a good idea to search for a fast publishing journals? – Semsem Feb 4 '15 at 16:33
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    This is really not common in mathematics (I've never heard of anyone doing it). If someone sent me a pre-submission inquiry, it wouldn't speed things up at all. If the paper sounded totally inappropriate, I'd say so, but that's the same thing I'd do soon after submission. In other cases, I couldn't say anything without seeing the actual submission. – Anonymous Mathematician Feb 4 '15 at 16:37
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    Your part 3 suggests that this answer is not written about math journals, which is what the question is about. – Tobias Kildetoft Feb 4 '15 at 18:55
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    I strongly agree with @AnonymousMathematician. This strategy is likely to annoy an editor without accomplishing anything. – Andy Putman Feb 4 '15 at 23:40
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    I simply meant that your part 3 makes no sense for a mathematical paper. – Tobias Kildetoft Feb 10 '15 at 13:13

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