Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

An Interview with Jaime A. Teixeira Da Silva: Insight into Improving the Efficiency of the Publication Process

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

An Interview with Jaime A. Teixeira Da Silva: Insight into Improving the Efficiency of the Publication Process

Article excerpt

NAJP: Recently you published an article on "Excessively long editorial decisions and excessively long publication times." First of all, what brought this about?

JATdS: The paper you are in fact referring to is Teixeira da Silva and Dobranszki (2017). Over a decades-old career in research, editing and publishing, I have encountered far too many instances in which editors and/or peer reviewers have taken an "excessive" amount of time to complete peer review, or to reach an editorial decision. This phenomenon has also been observed by my co-author and also by many colleagues, independent of their geographic origin, culture or field of study. As for other topics that interest me, based on these negative experiences, and using my own perspectives, I felt that it was important to publish my views about this so that colleagues could discuss them in greater detail. Since biomedical science and publishing appear to be in an evolving state of retrospective analysis and seeking corrective measures to improve the system overall, I have been positively encouraged by the response I have received thus far. The term "excessively" is used twice, not by accident, and serves to imprint the notion that it is "more than normal." Readers may also be interested in a perspective published by the Times Higher Education, which supplements this interview, but which does not address the issues that I would have liked seen covered, as in this interview: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/02/09/paper-says-it-time publishers-punish-tardy-journal-editors

NAJP: I have been on both sides of the fence--as a state and national editor, and as a researcher- waiting a very longtime to hear back from journals. What is your major concern?

JTdaS: I have also been in both positions, and that is why we have to discuss the topic more openly, because like us, there are many who feel pained by a long process, and frustrated by a system that cannot seem to effectively overcome this limitation. The greatest concern is the feeling of frustration: frustration that our intellect is being mishandled or badly represented, the frustration of waiting what sometimes feels like--and is --an eternity for feedback, and the frustration of, in some cases, being on the receiving end of a rejection after waiting for so long. Frustration is an unhealthy emotion that can lead scientists to complain, and when they complain, they risk being marginalized. Concerns can be easily mitigated when guidelines are clear about processing times, and when editors take time to offer authors an update or apology, whichever is appropriate. I discuss this in detail next in the interview.

NAJP: What in your mind is an "excessively long editorial decision"? And would that include or not include revisions?

JATdS: As we indicated in our paper, we feel that an initial peer review stage of 1-2 months is ample enough, and about the same period for each revision step thereafter. So, very large and data-rich or complex papers might take 5 or 6 months with 3 revisions, which is ample enough, while a letter to the editor shouldn't take more than a handful of days to decide whether to advance peer review or not, or to issue a desk rejection. It's understandable that papers of different sizes and levels of complexity require different periods of time, thus a reasonable amount of time for different manuscript types, an issue that was not discussed in detail in our paper, could be: 3-7 days to desk reject letters or commentaries, and < 14 days for research papers and reviews (2-3 or 4-5 weeks per review cycle for these categories, respectively).

The general trend is for the peer review period to take slightly longer as the manuscript size and/or complexity increases, e.g., the revision of a research note could take 1 week to approve initially for peer review, and 4 weeks for each revision. Thus, a paper that passes through 2 rounds of revision would take 9 weeks to reach a final decision of acceptance or rejection based on peer reports. …

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