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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Vagaries of peer review......

Fri, 03 Aug 2012

I was recently asked to review a paper at an open access journal......I'm happy to reciprocate on this whole process as it's what oils the whole research process. Anyway, I agreed 4th July and, somewhat unusually, it slipped off my radar until I was reminded yesterday (August 2) that 2 reviews were in and they were due to return a decision to the author 6 August. I apologised for the delay and said I would be able to get it returned within 2 weeks. Somewhat surprisingly I received this reply:

"Thank you so much for your rapid reply. We are very sorry that 17 August is late. Fast publication is one of the advantage of open access. Hope you can understand.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and hope that we will be able to invite you to assist with this journal's review process in future."

This doesn't look good on two counts:

firstly, they have two reviews. I don't know whether they normally ask for three but it gives the appearance of going for three reviews from beginning so that they have a good chance of returning two within a quick timeframe. This, in my mind, short changes and abuses reviewers as clearly they don't need my comments.

secondly, fast publication and open access is a complete red herring. All journals want fast publication.

Long and short.....I doubt I will either review or publish with them.

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