Call for Refereeing Data from Journal Editors

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen complaints from journal editors about the difficulty of finding referees and managing the refereeing process in a timely way but also some commentary suggesting that there may not be a problem.

[Jasper Johns, Color Numeral Series]

Is there a crisis or not? What are the facts? It would be great if we could say, “let’s turn to the numbers,” but we don’t have them. In light of this, a reader asked me to try to get said numbers. Good idea.

Philosophy journal editors, can you help us out?

Since for various reasons you might be reluctant to share such information publicly, I’m not asking you to provide your stats in the comments here; instead, please email ([email protected]) them to me. If I get some useful information, I will share it with DN’s readers in a follow-up post; however, I won’t release any journal-specific data without the explicit permission of the editor who provides it.

What we’re looking for is the referee request acceptance rate. That is, what percentage of the potential referees you ask to referee a paper agree to do so? (For our purposes let’s, if we can, consider only new submissions, and not R&Rs.)

Additional questions, if you have the information and time to share it: (a) what percentage of referee requests go completely unanswered? (b) what percentage of referees who agree to referee a paper fail to do so before you decide to find an alternate referee? and (c) how many papers, of those that made it through the desk-rejection phase, have you ended up rejecting owing to an inability to find enough suitable referees for it?

If you can’t get to these latter questions, don’t let that deter you from answering the main one, please. Thank you!

The Hedgehog Review
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2 years ago

Not to put more burden on editors, but I wonder if it might be useful to know what things were like pre-pandemic rather than right now. It seems to me most academics are busier with teaching and care responsibilities right now and may be turning down more requests/failing to submit agreed reviews than in normal times. I know I have when childcare is closed/kid is quarantined.