Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tolkien Journals Do It Better

The peer review process is infamously slow. Everyone knows the familiar slog: you poor blood, sweat, and tears into writing an article, send it off to a journal, and 4-6 months later (sometimes more!) you hear a response. In theory, there's no reason the process needs to take so long -- it's only a couple hours of work for the reviewer, maybe more if the submission's worth the effort. But peer review is a thing where very busy academics are doing volunteer labor that, in the grand scheme of things, does very little to advance their careers. Reviewing articles is a service to the field, but it's ridiculously easy to put one off when you're teaching, grading, writing, researching, serving on committees, attending conferences, and all the other hosts of things you must do as an academic.

Hence, you can only imagine how impressed I am with the speed with which I've gotten peer reviews from the various Tolkien journals. Thus far, I've offered submissions to Tolkien Studies, The Journal of Tolkien Research, and Mythlore. The response time? In order: 6 weeks, 2 weeks, and 3 weeks. Even the longest of those wait times, six weeks, is a breakneck pace in the tortoise-paced world of academia. I'm probably just getting lucky with this, but still, in the past I've waited four months for a response from other places. I've heard other journals taking upwards to a year to respond, although I've fortunately not encountered that myself.

All of which goes to show: Tolkienists do it better!

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