Friday, May 6, 2011

Good News Friday

No, I'm not on a bus tour of Europe! It's actually Friday, so I'll spend part of the day engaged in a very pleasant task - sending out emails to authors whose papers have been accepted for publication in a journal that I co-edit. The journal in question is The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, and I got involved on the editorial side of things there about 15 years ago - mainly to help with the many empirical papers that we receive as submissions.

We use ScholarOne Manuscripts™ (ManuscriptCentral) to handle submissions, refereeing and correspondence electronically. That's certainly made my life a lot easier, and controllable. 

It seems just yesterday that we used to seal three typed copies of our shiny new manuscript, with a cover letter to the editor, into a big fat envelope, and entrust it to our intrepid mail carriers. Then the waiting would begin. Eventually, without warning, a real letter would turn up one day, and we'd know the fate of our endeavours.

I've been an associate editor of quite a number of economics and statistics journals over the years. In that role, even in this electronic age you generally don't have control of the timing for the dispatch of acceptance and rejection letters. In the days prior email and electronic submissions, the editors themselves determined when acceptance and rejection letters were sent, but not when they were received.

And, as in many things, timing can be very important. Does any author want their weekend ruined by receiving an electronic rejection note and reports from referees who clearly don't "get it", on a Friday evening? I don't think so. And that's not a great way to start a Monday morning, either.

So, here's a little secret of mine. As an editor, I always try to time the receipt of good editorial news for a Friday or Saturday. If the decision is really negative, I aim for Tuesday through Thursday. I know that a speedy response is very important, so I don't "sit" on decisions. If an author has made an enquiry about progress with their submission, and has mentioned that they have a tenure/promotion coming up, my email is on its way as soon as a decision is reached. But if I possibly can, I try to time the arrival of the news to suit its content.

So, don't forget to check your email in-box later today - you never know!

© 2011, David E. Giles