MESSAGE FROM THE EDITORS (May 8, 2018)
Dear readers and authors,
We recognize that the journal has been tremendously behind in schedule. To those who have queried about your submissions with unsatisfactory response, we are terrible sorry. While we are not making up any excuses for our delays, we would like to assure you that we are working hard to streamline our response process and to catch up with a backlog of submissions. In the meantime, we would like to clarify a few of the most commonly asked questions:
Q: How long must I wait for a decision on my submission?
The quickest response time you may expect from American Studies at present is 6 months, though it sometimes takes longer. We are working hard to shorten this time. Our journal is based on a triple review process established in 1960. The journal send all articles to two board members and one specialists. It sometimes takes us longer to find a specialist willing to read an article. Reviewers agree to read these articles voluntarily and some take longer than others.
Q: I submitted a manuscript four months ago and it is still listed as “unassigned”
The designation of “unassigned” in our publishing software is a misleading title, but the software does not allow for changing it. What it means is that the submission is awaiting the availability of at least one reader. As soon as a manuscript is submitted to AMSJ, it is slated to be discussed at the next meeting, where we identify three potential readers. Readers receive invitations to review the piece. When readers accept, they are immediately provided access to the manuscript. When they decline, we identify and invite another, and so on. We they accept, but cannot do it until after they complete another review, it goes into a queue for that reader, but continues to appear in the “unassigned” category. Not until all readers have accepted invitations and have cleared their in-boxes, do submission begin showing up in the “under review” category. We realize that “unassigned” makes it look as though we have done nothing, but this is not the case. A submission may very well have two reports in and is awaiting for a specialist to agree to read for us, or for a busy reader to complete another report first.
Q: What are you doing to catch up?
Last year, we held a six-month moratorium on journal submissions as we attempted to catch up and rectify back submissions in our journal. This moratorium, it seems to us, should have been continued longer so that we could catch up with the backlog of submissions. We will consider another moratorium, in dialogue with the MAASA Board and our Editorial Board, but in the meantime, will continue to make catching up with our backlog of submissions and reducing response time our number one priority.
Q: How do I find out the status of my submission?
We realize that authors have not been receiving timely responses to queries about submission status. We are very sorry for this. Our staff of two excellent graduate students has been stretched with production of our quarterly publication. Until we are back on track, the editors will personally respond to status queries sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for entrusting us with your work. We respect your time and do understand the high stakes involved in securing a timely response. Please know that we have heard your concerns and are working hard to better serve those who submit to AMSJ.
Sherrie Tucker Randal Maurice Jelks