Do you want to find out how long a journal takes from submission to acceptance and publication? To figure this out, you select a number of their recent publications and look up this information either on the PDF – where dates of submission, acceptance, and publication are usually indicated on the first page – or look on the site of the journal for ´Metrics´ or ´Article info.´
Alternatively, you can look some of this information up on specific websites. For journals in the Social Sciences, the website JournalReviewer has turnaround time, reviews, and recommendations. For journals in, among others, the Medical, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Engineering fields, there is the SciRev website. Both sites rely on scientists to submit reviews on the journals they submitted papers to, so if you want to contribute from your own experience, you can. The SciRev site has, in addition to the reviews per journal, also some statistical information on journals in specific fields.
Publication time for some immunology journals
I analyzed the turnaround time for several immunology journals and found that the average time from submission to acceptance was 5.5 months*. The time from submission to acceptance however greatly varied between journals, from 3.5 months for Clinical Immunology to nearly 9 months for Immunity. After acceptance, it often takes another month for the article to be published online. So if time is an issue, it may be worthwhile to investigate turnaround time when selecting a journal for your manuscript.
Patience is good, but there is a limit
If you think half a year or a year is a long time to wait for your article to get published, you may want to look at the metrics of this article in an algebra journal. It is an unusual example of a slow editorial review process, where an article was submitted in June 1995, only to be accepted in May 2006. The actual publication took another two years… The authors were extremely patient and took most of the blame on themselves. Fortunately, such extreme delays are very rare. If you don´t see any progress in the online submission system a couple of months after submission of your manuscript, you should definitely send an email to the editor asking whether there is a problem.
*I analysed six journals, five random publications from 2023 per journal.