Note: this post is updated every few months.
No one likes to be rejected. Yet when rejection is unavoidable, most would prefer it to be reasonably fast. As with all Nature journals, at Nature Biomedical Engineering we strive to provide a great service to our authors. In this post, we show our decision turnaround times for manuscripts declined without peer review and for decisions (positive or negative) after one round of peer review.
Original post from November 28, 2016, with amendments:
The journal opened for submissions on April 20, 2016. Since then we have received nearly 600 manuscripts and presubmission enquiries. Of these, about 100 came in as presubmission enquiries by e-mail (for which our median decision turnaround time is 3 days). The above box-and-whisker plots show the days to decision for manuscripts submitted through our manuscript tracking system (they exclude e-mail pre-submission enquiries).
The distribution of the days to decision for manuscripts declined by us without review is skewed towards shorter times. The majority of the decisions taken in less than two days were for manuscripts that we deemed to be incremental in degree of advance or that were out of the journal's scope. The spread is however affected by a myriad of factors, including fluctuations in manuscript load and manuscript quality, and the availability of the editors (busy periods, or periods of holidays or travel, unfortunately lengthen our manuscript turnaround times).
So far, we have sent to peer reviewers about 6% of the manuscripts that we have received. For manuscript decisions after peer review, the spread results from mainly two factors: the availability of reviewers that are willing to help to review a manuscript (often it may take as more than one week to secure an appropriate set of experts), and how busy the recruited reviewers are (most often, really busy). We always appreciate a reviewer's effort, and try to be accommodating to the reviewer's schedule.
We will strive to maintain healthy turnaround times as the journal grows.