The Slowdown of the Economics Publishing Process
Over the last three decades there has been a dramatic increase in the length of time necessary to publish a paper in a top economics journal. This paper documents the slowdown and notes that a substantial part is due to an increasing tendency of journals to require that papers be extensively revised prior to acceptance. A variety of potential explanations for the slowdown are considered: simple cost and benefit arguments; a democratization of the publishing process; increases in the complexity of papers; the growth of the profession; and an evolution of preferences for different aspects of paper quality. Various time series are examined for evidence that the economics profession has changed along these dimensions. Paper-level data on review times is used to assess connections between underlying changes in the profession and changes in the review process. It is difficult to attribute much of the slowdown to observable changes in the economics profession. Evolving social norms may play a role.
Published: Ellison, Glenn. "The Slowdown Of The Economics Publishing Process," Journal of Political Economy, 2002, v110(5,Oct), 947-993.