Submit when hot ? A personal complaint about seasonal biases in scientific publishing

In a smart and fine letter, James Hartley criticizes the results of a paper whose methods and conclusions seems to be not enough sound. I agree with him: there is no particular advantage in writing research papers in the summer months and submit them in the fall, even if they’re psychological research papers. In another turn of the screw Michael Schreiber, not in vain a physicist at the Chemnitz University of Technology, has used a larger set of publications and a longer time window to conclude that, yes, there’s a clear tendency to submit papers in the months of July to the journal EPL, former European Physics Letters.

As of this weren’t enough, Lutz Bornmann and his alter ego Hans-Dieter Daniel show that June and August are the preferred months for the investigators in Chemistry to submit papers to the German journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

And that’s where my complaint comes from: as one of the occassional referees for Scientometrics I’ve got since this morning no one but two manuscripts for review. Has anyone thought that the days before vacation are not the best days to do a peer review ? Are bibliometricians aware of the works by Schreiber and Bornmann ? Has all that anything to do with the cuts in my salary?

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