March 30, 2011

Duration of a review process in computer science journals

WORDS BY   Matic Cankar

POSTED IN   misc | tips & tricks | journal | science | impact factor | research


A part of the scientific work is publishing discoveries and results in journals. Better journals are evaluated with the impact factor (IF) which somehow declares its importance. In this post we wonder how long do we have to wait for the editors and reviewers to examine our submitted paper? Does this depend on the IF? Is it possible that our research will be out-of-date before publishing? Here is a small research on the process times of a few computer science journals.

Disclaimer: Information from this post is just my quick and inaccurate experiment. Don’t call me if you make wrong decision based on this observations. ;)

I have prepared a research paper and now I would like to choose the right journal to publish it. For a start I decided that I will find a journal with  IF between 0.5 and 1.25 - let us say that the impact is important to us. I queried the JCR base with my library account and sorted the journals from the computer science category according to the IF in 2009. My focus were the journals that had grid and cloud computing in their scope. From these I selected the journals with a suitable name and are in aforementioned IF range. The selection:

Selected journals. Index represents the position of the journal from the list ordered descending by IF.
Index Name ISSN IF Abbr.
229 Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing 0743-7315 1.135 JPDC
230 Parallel computing 0167-8191 1.125 PC
232 Journal of Network and Computer Applications 1084-8045 1.111 JNCA
255 Concurrency and Computation 1532-0626 1.004 CCPE
320 Cluster Computing: the Journal of Networks 1386-7857 0.695 CC-JNSTA
326 Journal of Universal Computer Science 0948-695X 0.669 JUCS
340 Journal of Computer Science and Technology 1000-9000 0.632 JCST
367 Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology 1443-458X 0.5 JRPIT
375 Computing and Informatics 1335-9150 0.456 CI

Now we have our journals, but can we say how long does it take to get our paper reviewed? We would like to have the answer if our work is accepted ASAP - if we fail we would like to improve the work and resend again into review. I don’t know why the information about the review processing time is not accessible on their web pages (Ok, maybe I have a clue...). Only JUSC have this information on their page. In approximately 4 weeks they notify the authors if their paper will be reviewed (so if they have succeeded to find the required reviewers), the whole refereeing process is estimated to 8 months. What about other journals? I collected the dates of the important stages of articles (received/revised/accepted) in those journals and calculated the statistics. In the statistic approximate 10-20 papers were chosen from the last issues (but not special issues - because their refereeing times are usually shorter and misleading) of each journal. And now the figures:

Duration of a review process in days. [avg - average, stdev - standard deviation]. CI does not provide the needed dates to make the calculation. JRPIT does provide only the "received" date, so we used the date of publishing instead of "acception". JUSC - let's say we believe them ;). Abbreviations are Rec(=received),Rev(=revised) and Acc(=accepted).
Abbr. avg(Rev-Rec) stdev(Rev-Rec) avg(Acc-Rec) stdev(Acc-Rec)
JPDC 347,5 167,7 380,0 176,6
PC 450,5 277,7 545,0 272,3
JNCA 190,6 78,5 216,1 83,6
CCPE 310,0 119,4 349,5 132,7
CC-JNST 299,0 249,2
JUCS ~ 8 month
JCST 324,7 164,0
JRPIT* 570,0 99,3

So as you can see, I’ll have to wait a year. Most of the journal's reviewing process last about 300-500 days. It looks like the quickest are at JNCA and the slowest at PC and JRPIT. I don't have time for better conclusions... Among the papers there was a "somehow" review winner. Congrats to the team which article was revised in two days by Cluster Computer Journal (CC-JNSTA)! Maybe the reviewers rushed and processed the paper before their vacation in July.

And to all of you: Good luck with publishing and many quick and successful reviews!

PS: Some good estimations of review and publication times can be found here.