The comments on Jeremy’s post last week on manuscripts often getting the same reviewers at multiple journals got me wondering about something that is related: what’s the range on the number of reviewers a paper has in a single round of review at a single journal? And what about the number of reviewers for a paper across all rounds of review at a single journal? And, if it’s possible to figure out, what about the number of reviewers for a single journal across all rounds of review across all journals?
First, a poll for that first question (note: for purposes of this poll, don’t count the associate editor, even if she/he did a substantive review):
For me, the answer is 5. I’m guessing that what happened is that the associate editor invited 5 people, assuming 2-3 would accept, and hit some sort of reviewer jackpot where they all agreed to the review. Perhaps because of this experience, I never ask more than 3 people at a time when I’m handling a paper as an AE. (This is only relevant for me at Ecology & Evolution. Fortunately for me, AmNat’s editorial office handles all the emails related to review requests, so I don’t need to make that decision with manuscripts for them.) The downside to not asking more people at once is that it can slow down the process of finding two reviewers. So, there’s a tradeoff.
Now, the second question (again, for purposes of this poll, don’t count the associate editor, even if she/he did a substantive review):
To be clear, I am not referring to cases where a manuscript bounces to another journal. Sometimes the number of referees increases during revisions. For example, the paper may get sent to one of the original reviewers and to a new reviewer. I’ve heard one horror story of where a high-profile journal did this through many rounds of review.
The last poll question will probably be harder for some people to answer/estimate, but I’m still curious:
For this, I realize you might have to guess a bit more, but it will still be interesting to see.
I’ll be curious to see what others have experienced!