I am in math, and it occurred to me that in average, I receive answers to submission of my papers after about 8 months. In the journals I submit to, there is almost always only one referee report.

In recent years I served as a reviewer for many of these journals. The editors of these journals almost always ask me for a report within 2-3 months.

Where do the extra 5-6 months of wait come from?

  • @ÉbeIsaac I added all the other times mentioned in the answer to that question, and they are much less than 5-6 months. – Waiting Sep 13 '16 at 8:51
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    It really depends on the publisher. A colleague of mine submitted a paper in a reputable journal and after an agonizing wait of 2 years, she received the report from the review. The result: "not in scope". The paper was also of mathematical relevance. – Ébe Isaac Sep 13 '16 at 8:56
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    But I am talking about many publishers and many different journals. – Waiting Sep 13 '16 at 8:57
  • Why was the question closed? the duplicate doesn't answer my question at all. – Waiting Sep 13 '16 at 14:08
  • There were many questions similar to yours and all of which were flagged as duplicate of the same post. They did however had their own nuances. I doubt even the voted answers in here would provide the real solution for your problem. Only the journal Publisher would have knowledge of this. We could only provide hints to the possibilities. – Ébe Isaac Sep 13 '16 at 14:21

As an editor, I can say that although we ask for reviews within a certain time-frame, we almost always get some reviews back late. But what often takes more time is finding willing reviewers in the first place. My journal aims to get four reviews for each manuscript, but usually settles for three. I start by sending out requests to five potential reviewers. Two weeks later, I might have accepts from two potential reviewers, declines from two, and no reply from number five. I'll send a reminder to potential reviewer number five. A week later, still not having heard back, I cancel that request and invite another two potential reviewers. Two weeks later, if I haven't heard back, or if they both decline, I'll look for more possibilities. Sometimes I get three reviewers on the first try, but sometimes, the process takes many weeks. We give our reviewers 21 days to return the review. In maths, I understand that reviewers are given longer, because they are expected to check the proofs in detail. Regardless of how long they are given, it is normal for some reviews to be late. Editors send out a reminder. Then a second reminder. Some reviewers, despite having agreed, never reply. In that case, we need to start the whole process again. This is why some manuscripts take so long to review.

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The primary reason of long review process backs to the editor in chief. If He(She) have a regular plan on paper review then the review process will be very short.

Also, the publisher is very important e.g. the Elsevier recently provides journal insights on the main page of some journals that contains the info on review process time schedule and journal prestige measures (I think that the plan is to develop for all of its journals).

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    This sounds more like a guess than an informed answer. If you could back up your claim by some evidence or explanation, it may be a valuable contribution to the question but as it is, it really sounds like speculation and would deserve a down vote. (I did not down vote since I am also guessing here...) – Dirk Sep 13 '16 at 12:16
  • My comment is based on my experience and also my friends that it contains a variety of journals submissions from different publishers. As a real story, I have a paper response after 8 months with just this comment, "out of scope". In addition, the comment of @Significance as an editor indicate the main role of Editor in chief. – Hadi Sep 13 '16 at 13:02
  • Although the story that one editor took eight month to reply "out of scope" is a bad one, I think this (together with other, currently still vague, experience) is not enough to back up the claim that "The primary reason of long review process backs to the editor in chief.", especially since @significance provides first hand information that the situation is indeed not totally in the hands of the editor. – Dirk Sep 13 '16 at 13:34
  • @Dirk you should carefully read again the original question and also the reply of Significance. I thought that this site is for sharing our experience about the academia not solely to the official and common typical answers. Thanks anyway for allowing us to share the informal answers. – Hadi Sep 13 '16 at 13:46

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