I work on both in the area of pure Computer Science and in the area of Computational Chemistry/Biology.

Till now I have submitted papers to well known venues(journals) of both these fields. I don't understand the following situations after paper submission in both these fields:

  • Submitted papers in non-CS journals follow a quick review procedure i.e. submission - editor assignment - reviewer invited - under review - review completed - [...] Turnaround : 3 months

  • But, for pure CS Journals, every step is late except the first step which is obvious. Turnaround: 10-12 months

What can we infer given such situations in peer review world?

Note: I am talking about majority of journals in both these mentioned fields.

  • 4
    You can infer, that peer review in CS takes about three to four times longer than in some other fields. What kind of answer do you expect?
    – Dirk
    Sep 22 '16 at 14:19
  • Thank you for your enlightening comment. I didn't know basic multiplication. @Dirk
    – Coder
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:29
  • 1
    Not of answer quality: I was recently chatting with two chemical biologists about this difference. They told me that their reviewers normally only have to check for factual correctness, and do not have to tell whether the result is novel or interesting enough. This is the job of the editor. In a CS review, this "novel/interesting enough" statement is the most important part of the review (unless the paper is plain wrong)! Testing for errors is the easy part. Also, journ. articles tend to go into much detail (compared to conf. articles), so reviewers also often need longer reviewing times.
    – DCTLib
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:33
  • This somewhat makes sense. But, are these guys saying that the biophysical journals do not check the novelty and originality? - @DCTLib
    – Coder
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:36
  • 1
    @Coder No, they are saying that determining this is the job of the editor. So the reviewer have a lighter workload. And if you have eager editors or full-time editors (Nature, Science, ...), this speeds up the overall process.
    – DCTLib
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:38

In computer science, unlike in the majority of other academic fields, most research is published as articles in conference proceedings, and conferences do follow a quick review process. I imagine that the pressure on journals to provide a quick review process is thus less strong.

  • If this is the case then why number of journals in CS are increasing day by day. I am talking about journals from reputed publishers such as IEEE, ACM, Springer, Elsevier...
    – Coder
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:31
  • There are lots of publication venues, of varying quality, whether they are conferences or journals. Journals have their place (for surveys, for extended versions of a paper with proofs or detailed experiments, for some papers that may not fit well with the conference format...), but conferences remain the main way to publish a paper in computer science. It can be infuriating to have to wait more than a year for a journal review, but at least you know that you won't have to wait more than a couple of months when you submit a conference paper, which is much more frequent. Sep 22 '16 at 16:55
  • Thanks for the comment. But, the problem with the conference is the systematic way of registration, presentation etc. which is large cost bearing for a research student. However, there are funding opportunities but still are less frequent.
    – Coder
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:59

The time for peer review is a highly complex variable and it depends on many factors: the ideas explored in the paper by the authors, the time for review and the focus of the referee, the dynamics of the journal editorial board. For example in physics(APS) the time for a review round may vary from 1 week to 2 3 months, or even longer. Hence, the time for publishing vary from one month to one year, or more. In mathematics, for example, the review time is even longer, and it is natural that the referee reports are received in a time frame from 1 month to one year. From all these, we see that the review time is a complex variable where the authors have minor effects and one cannot change much. The best thing an author can do is to write a clear manuscript that would be natural to read/referee. Hence, the review time is not an important aspect to consider, what is more important is the idea and the novelty of the paper, and the quality of the review process, which is linked to the prestige of the journal. For conference proceedings, the review time is shorter that the journals, where a strong review is made. For sure, the strength of the review highly depends on the editorial board and the referees.

  • Consider this example: some paper P1 is submitted to a CS Journal J on September 1. The Editor is assigned on September 17. The status remains the same for 1-2 months. Then it goes for review.
    – Coder
    Sep 22 '16 at 16:34

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