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Psychological Medicine

SciRev ratings (provided by authors) (based on 5 reviews)

Duration of manuscript handling phases Click to compare
Duration first review round 1.9 mnths compare →
Total handling time accepted manuscripts 2.9 mnths compare →
Decision time immediate rejection 14 days compare →
Characteristics of peer review process Click to compare
Average number of review reports 2.7 compare →
Average number of review rounds 2.0 compare →
Quality of review reports 3.7 compare →
Difficulty of reviewer comments 3.3 compare →
Overall rating manuscript handling 3.0 (range 0-5) compare →

Latest review Show all reviews

First review round: 7.6 weeks. Overall rating: 0 (very bad). Outcome: Rejected.

A thoroughly disheartening and shambolic process. First set of reviews: 2 positive, 1 negative. Response of editor: "One of the referees had very major criticisms of your paper. If you believe you can fully address the deficiencies then we would be willing to see a radically revised version. However I should advise you that we would send it back to the same referee. You might therefore want to think carefully whether you wish to do this or consider another journal." We thought carefully, but decided to resubmit because the reviewer had misunderstood some basic methodological details and also made erroneous comments about the statistical analyses. So, of course we could address his/her petty concerns! In addition to the detailed response to the reviewer, we sent a letter to the editor explaining that we were concerned about possible bias and the various errors s/he had made, providing detailed and blunter rebuttals than would have been sensible to put in the 'response to reviewers' document. The editor is after all an elder statesman of psychiatry, and would obviously make a wise and considered judgement? So we waited for about 2 months and eventually were told the review (singular) had been received and that a decision was imminent. A further two weeks went by and still no word. When we enquired, we were then told that the paper had been sent out for review AGAIN. We thought this was a good sign, believing that the negative reviewer's views must have remained unchanged after the revision and that the sage editor had decided that the fairest course of action was to get a fourth/fifth opinion. And then, two days after that we were told that the paper was rejected (i.e. before the re-re-review). We were only sent the negative reviewer's second set of comments (which predictably contained a series of additional concerns). It is of course possible that we were viewing our work through rose tinted glasses, seeing it as a major breakthrough in psychiatry (the two positive reviewers took a more modest view of our work, but commended it as important, nonetheless) and that the negative reviewer was right to criticise our work (and the editor right to reject it on the basis of that criticism). But it really concerns me that the editor was so willingly and credulously swayed by a reviewer whose comments, by any measure of pettiness, were trivial and/or based on a misunderstanding of the literature and statistical methods. My feeling was that our fate was sealed after the first reviews and the fairest thing would have been to definitively put us out of our misery at that stage. Instead we waited >5 months to receive a really ill considered decision.

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