Monday, November 10, 2008

Needle!

Why don't we start an international needling campaign? This month, start to needle your colleagues about getting referee reports done in time for the job market. If they start to moan about their work loads, you can tell them that some people manage to get their referee reports in on time even though they teach much, much more than they do. (If someone's teaching seven courses this semester, I take that back.) I can't speak for everyone, but speaking as an author if I had to choose between a 12+ month wait for a referee's report and a more reasonable time table for a verdict, I don't think I'd have any preference for the longer wait unless the comments were exceptionally good. (I doubt that the reason people take 12+ months is that they are trying to write up unimaginably good comments.) I don't think my preferences here are idiosyncratic. Maybe editors have different preferences, but I doubt it.

So, commence needling.

(Fwiw, I might have some vested interest here. I have a fair number of works that have been tied up in the review process for 11+ months. That being said, I've also had some success this year. I don't think that this bottleneck will necessarily keep me from getting the interviews I don't land this year. But, I know what it's like to go on the market without publications knowing that the manuscripts I've submitted should have received their verdicts prior to the job hunt. It's a horrible experience to go through and I can't understand why we'd be unwilling to do what must be done to spare our colleagues the pain and frustration.)

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