In the previous post we saw there’s about a \$35\$% chance a given referee will agree to review a paper for Ergo. And on average it takes about \$5.8\$ tries to find two referees for a submission. The full empirical distribution looks like this: But there’s also an a priori way of exploring an editor’s predicament here, by using a classic model: the negative binomial distribution. So I thougth I’d make a little exercise of seeing how well the model captures the empirical reality here.... Read more

Finding willing referees is one of the more tedious parts of an editor’s job. And with all the talk about how overloaded the peer-review system is, it’s worth pausing to examine just how hard it is to find referees. Well, at Ergo it takes on average 5.8 tries before we find two referees to review a submission. The following plot gives the full picture. So most submissions take six or fewer invites, and the overwhelming majority require fewer than 10.... Read more

We’ve all been there. One referee is positive, the other negative, and the editor decides to reject the submission. I’ve heard it said editors tend to be conservative given the recommendations of their referees. And that jibes with my experience as an author. So is there anything to it—is “editorial gravity” a real thing? And if it is, how strong is its pull? Is there some magic function editors use to compute their decision based on the referees’ recommendations?... Read more

We looked at author gender in a previous post, today let’s consider referees. Does their gender have any predictive value? Once again our discussion only covers men and women because we don’t have the data to support a deeper analysis.1 Using data from Ergo, we’ll consider the following questions: Requests. How are requests to referee distributed between men and women? Are men more likely to be invited, for example?... Read more

Spare a thought for Reviewer 2, that much-maligned shade of academe. There’s even a hashtag dedicated to the joke: A rare glimpse of reviewer 2, seen here in their natural habitat pic.twitter.com/lpT1BVhDCX — Aidan McGlynn (@AidanMcGlynn) January 15, 2017 But is it just a joke? Order could easily matter here. Referees invited later weren’t the editor’s first choice, after all. Maybe they’re less competent, less likely to appreciate your brilliant insights as an author.... Read more

Does an author’s gender affect the fate of their submission to an academic journal? It’s a big question, even if we restrict ourselves to philosophy journals. But we can make a start by using Ergo as one data-point. I’ll examine two questions: Question 1: Does gender affect the decision rendered at Ergo? Are men more likely to have their papers accepted, for example? Question 2: Does gender affect time-to-decision at Ergo?... Read more

In an earlier post we saw that Mondays and Thursdays are good for editors, at least at Ergo. Potential referees say yes more often when invited on these days. But why? Mondays aren’t too puzzling. It’s the start of a new week, so people are fresh, and maybe just a little deluded about how productive the coming week will prove to be. But Thursdays? They don’t seem especially special. I tried speculating a priori about what might be going on there.... Read more

Finding willing referees is one of the biggest challenges for a journal editor. Are referees more willing some days of the week than others? Apparently they are, on Mondays… and Thursdays, for some reason. At least, that’s how things have gone at Ergo the last couple years (2015 and 2016). Data Consider the “bounce rate” for a given day of the week: the portion of invites sent on that day that end up being declined (bounce rate = #declined / #invited).... Read more