Database Systems (TODS)


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Turnaround Time Policy

Approved April 14, 2003; amended May 23, 2005

There is a wide-spread impression that journals take a long time to review submissions. This perception is in general well-founded, as I'm sure your personal experience with journals confirms. Such delays do not aid science, create problems for those working toward tenure, and detract from the relevance of journal papers.

This perception does not match reality for TODS. Over the last decade, Won Kim worked with the EB to reduce the turnaround time from something like eighteen months to an estimated six months in most cases (detailed data from that era is not available).

The current TODS Editorial Board has done a wonderful job in further reducing the turnaround time. In fact, the average is around four months, with a maximum of not more than six months for the last seven months. This statistic is something that TODS should emphasize to potential authors, to change the perception that TODS is just like other journals: slow and irrelevant. The TODS information director has added the turnaround time statistics, as a nice graph, to the TODS web site. TODS may be the first database journal, and the first ACM journal, to publicly share its performance in reviewing papers.

The new policy goes a step further, to emphasize to authors that the Editorial Board is serious about keeping the reviewing time down.

  • The TODS Editorial Board is committed to providing an editorial decision within six months, starting with papers submitted in April 2002. On May 23, 2005 the commitment was changed to a five-month turnaround time, starting with papers submitted January 2004. This new commitment will appear in the Editorial Guidelines and in the turnaround statistics. The turnaround time is defined to start with the day the paper was physically received by an Editor, if sent by post, or the day it was emailed or submitted electronically, and extends to the day the decision was sent to the author (most papers are now submitted electronically). It is expected that the average turnaround time will be even shorter, so prospective authors can expect a fast review of their submission.

This statement will be added to the Editorial Guidelines and the six-month commitment added to the turnaround statistics.

Note: The EB discussed a previous proposal that was stated as a guarantee. The problem with a guarantee is: what happens when it isn't met? Without stating what happens then, what does the guarantee mean? Hence, the wording above, which is stated in the form of a commitment rather than a guarantee, is used.

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