When I was an editor, I often encountered referees who did not usually review papers in my field. I was told that our aspiration of asking referees to complete their tasks in two weeks was unusual. Apparently, in most social science and management journals the time suggested for reviewing a paper is anything between four weeks and three months! This made our two-week deadline look rather odd. Of course, I was aware of other disciplines where the time suggested was 1-7 days, depending on the journal, so clearly there are some very diverse practices. Given that it takes a matter of hours to review a paper, I guess that what typically happens is that a paper for review waits on someone’s desk until they finally get around to carrying out non-urgent tasks. Perhaps I am wrong, and perhaps some people really are spending several weeks composing a review of a paper. What do you think? When you are an author, are your expectations and aspirations different to when you are a referee? What is the shortest time and the longest time that you would expect to wait for the decision on your paper, and what are your experiences, especially in different fields?
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