Looking at our operations, one of the observations is that the response rate from invited referees could be much better. Avoiding delays at this level is crucial at improving the overall timescales for editorial processing.
On the one hand, we don’t want to overburden anybody. On the other hand, things work much better if quick yes/no replies are given to refereeing invitations, and if referees who have accepted to deliver a report, do so within the agreed deadline.
Some things come to mind about how we can improve this:
- should we add a one-click accept/decline button in the referee invitation email (no login required)?
- should we offer the option, upon accepting a refereeing invitation, for the referee to self-determine a “promised by” date for report delivery (within acceptable bounds), and show these promised dates to authors?
- if a referee does not respond to an invitation after a few days, is the right default to consider this referee to having refused the invitation, or to have implicitely accepted it?
- how often should we send email reminders to referees?
Your opinions on the above, together with any further thoughts or ideas, are most welcome.