JTB and faster publication?

Fri Jun 30 08:09:38 EST 1995

   The Journal of Theoretical Biology has just sent round an advertizing
circular proclaiming a "new future" and a "new editor" and "faster publication

   Whether a new editor will make a new future only time will tell. Certainly,
the problem with the JTB has not been at the Editorial level. In my experience,
there is a publication delay of at least 6 months from the time of acceptance.
The reviewing process that precedes this is very thorough and exhaustive and
usually very well done. The people chosen are at the tops of their fields and
sometimes very busy..so the reviewing process is quite long (6 months not

    But, once the acceptance decision has been made, then it is up to the
publishers, Academic Press, to get the work out as quickly as possible. With
modern publication methods straight from computer disc and FAX transmission of
proofs, this should NOT take more than a WEEK!

    Why is this important? Well, most researchers have some flexibility in
their research programs. Each week or so they evaluate what they are doing in
the context of the literature that appears at that time. If they could see the
accepted literature THEN, not in 6 months time, there could be a substantially
different set of research approaches. Who loses? Well, in the biosciences, the
cures to cancer, AIDS, schizophrenia are delayed when researchers do exper-
ments which they would not havve done, had they know the content of the
accepted, but unavailable, literature.  Another problem, is that there is a
coterie of editors and reviewers who have a 6 month lead on the rest of us,
regarding knowledge of what is happening at the "cutting edge".

    So, welcome, new editor, to the JTB! Priority number one must be to get
 Academic Press to smarten up.

                              Don Forsdyke, Discussion Leader,

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