Slow academic publishing

This post (at or breaking into the academy) discusses the speed, or really slowness, of academic publishing. It certainly is the case that papers take forever to make it into print from first submission. Even if things go well.

But is that really bad? Does it really slow things down that much? I notice in my field that I often see many good papers at seminars and conferences long before they are in print. Publication is the final certification stage. And working papers are so freely available on the web that you do not need to wait for publication to see the paper anyway. So what is the cost of the delay? Waiting for the certification?

I would imagine that much of the delay is in the refereeing. And that is a finite resource. How could we speed it up? How costly would it be?

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3 responses to “Slow academic publishing

  1. Good Points

    And thanks for your helpful comments about writing over at Bitch Ph.D.

  2. I’m an editor now, myself, at Public Choice.

    The speed thing is a terrible problem.

    And I feel an obligation, because I am aware I am using up time on the clock for junior people.

    So, I have been leaning towards saying no, and not sending papers out for review, if I think there is little chance of the thing being accepted.

    Still….I worry. Referees take forever.

  3. One of the journals that I review for actually publishes each referee’s average turnaround time. And pay a lot for completed review—- both with $ and with a coupon for a part of a free submission. Of course, if you are fast, you get better treatment yourself, too.

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