Photo Credit: Gideon Burton/Flickr.
Today, one of the students just sent his first paper to a journal and with a smile on his face said “well…this is finally over!”. I though: actually, this has just started! The average amount of time from article submission to its acceptance has raised considerably in the last couple of years.
So, after months (years?) of research, field trips, lab work, computational time and writing, here comes the fun part: the long-lasting (and sometimes circular) submission of articles:
- Submit the article
- The article is accepted (yeah!! How lucky am I:-)
- The article is not accepted and it has not even been reviewed. Go to Step 1.
- The article is not accepted but it has been reviewed so that you now have a least some comments that might be useful to improve your work…or not! Whatever is the case, you should go back to 1.
- The article is not accepted but has been reviewed and you are invited to re-submit.
- The article might be accepted after some changes, which could be minor or major, implying re-writing and even re-analyzing your data or going back to the field to collect more data.
At this point, you could go back to step 1 or incorporate the changes and (re)submit it. If you’re lucky, you get the same reviewer(s), which might answer: a) I’m happy with the changes: accepted!; b) Though you incorporated all the previous comments, the reviewer still wants some more, which means another round of changes and further submission (yes, it’s step 1 again) OR because it is already a re-submission, the Editor might think that it’s not worth the time, so it’s again a rejection!; c) the reviewer agrees that all the changes previously requested have been incorporated but he/she has now found that your work is not novel enough, so it’s rejected. And guess what: along the process you might also get new reviewers, who could have a totally different view of your article.
In sum, the process usually takes months and it might take 1-2 years to publish a really good article! Meanwhile grant/project deadlines are still the same! So, what are the options?? OA journals?? Even OA journals like PLOSOne have raise the acceptance time from nearly 1 month to more than six!! Argh!