The Connection Between Peer Reviews and Publication Timelines

In a recent Twitter post, a doctor stated that she submitted a manuscript to a journal more than 2 months ago but hadn’t heard anything. She asked if requesting an update from the journal’s editorial staff was reasonable. Some of the Twitter replies pointed out a factor that plays a major role in acceptance and publication timelines: receipt of peer reviewer comments.

Finding peer reviewers can be difficult. For example, the following notes are from our team’s weekly agenda for an article that we’ve struggled to find reviewers for:

  • Reviewers invited 4/12; no one has agreed
  • Invited 4 more reviewers 4/26
  • Requested more reviewers from editor in chief 5/3
  • Invited 7 more reviewers 5/10
  • Invited 2 more reviewers; one agreed

A whopping 28 people were invited to provide comments on this paper during a 1-month period, but only one of them agreed to review it.

Peer review is a volunteer activity and often not high on people’s priority lists. However, the more clinicians who assist with the peer review process, the shorter the publication timelines. And peer review is a critically important part of maintaining the integrity of the scholarly record. Further, serving as a peer reviewer is a great way to share your knowledge and it looks good on a CV.

Would you like to take an active role in promoting good science? The Ochsner Journal is recruiting peer reviewers in all specialties. We particularly need orthopedists and anesthesiologists. The paper with 28 invitations is an anesthesiology paper.

We won’t be pushy or greedy. We won’t ask for more than 2 manuscript reviews annually. And we’ve created a handy set of reviewer instructions that outline the questions that guide a good review. If you would like to help us, please send an email to ocjournal@ochsner.org with your full name, hospital affiliation, and specialty.