There are a few rules to follow when submitting to a journal that will be standard across most of the journals listed below.

    Cover letter
    With your manuscript, you should include a letter to the editor. In it you should state that you are submitting this paper for consideration to journal X. That's the minimum such a cover letter should include. (Point being, you need a cover letter.)

    On the double-blind review process
    Most of the journals below operate via double-blind peer review which means that the author doesn't know who is reviewing the paper and the reviewers don't know whose paper they are reviewing. (Of course, one shouldn't be completely naive about this idea. Often it is possible to tell the identity of the author or reviewer/s given the content or style or especially the particular recommendations made by some reviewers. For example, if a reviewer recommends ten additional pieces you should have cited and nine of these are to the work of one particular person there is a good chance that person was reviewing the manuscript.)

    In order to make sure that the review is truly double-blind, it is customery to take out self-citations from the manuscript and include them on a separate sheet for the editor/s only. When you are including a self-citation in the document, you can just say Ident. Ref. 1 or something like that.

    Possible outcomes
    A few months after having submitted your manuscript (or many months in the case of some journals) you will hear from the editor/s with a decision. The editor/s will send their letter and will also include copies of the reviewers' comments.
    Most journals have the following outcomes:

    • accept
    • conditional accept
    • revise and resubmit
    • reject

    Outright acceptance happens once in a blue moon, probably. Conditional acceptances are quite rare as well, they require the author/s to change just a few minor things in the manuscript to be published.
    R&R (revise and resubmit) is the best most authors can hope for. This means that the editor/s think your piece could make it into the journal, but that will require you to make some minor as well as some major revisions to the manuscript. This can entail performing additional analyses, perhaps integrating more data, and likely reconceptualizing and rewriting sections of the paper. In response to an R&R, you will be asked to send in the revised manuscript and a letter outlining to the editor/s and the reviewers how you addressed their points of concern. This revised paper then goes into a second round of reviews. In the second round, often one or two of the original reviewers are asked to look at your piece again but it is also likely sent to some new reviewers as well.
    Finally, you may receive a rejection. Do not despair. Use the comments from the editor/s and reviewers to improve the manuscript. In any case, do not put it in the drawer and just forget about it. Try to turn it around as quickly as possible and send it to another journal. (If you don't find the comments of the editor(s)/reviewers helpful you can just send on the original but be aware that the same reviewers may receive your piece from another journal as well and they will not be happy to see the same manuscript without revisions.) Keep in mind that there is a lot of chance involved in the journal review process so don't get too discouraged if you receive a rejection.

    How long?
    Some journals take a very long time to get back to you. I am trying to figure out what the timeline is for the journals listed below. If you have experience with any of them - either as an author or as a reviewer - please let me know by sending a note to journals - at - eszter - dot - com.

    Here is a helpful resource with information about review times and more: The Iowa Guide. (Please note that it is not always accurate. For example, Gender & Society is known to have a much longer review process than is stated in this guide.)



Created: 2002 Last updated: January, 2007
Contact: eszter at princeton dot edu Version 3.0 (online since July 24, 1995)