In one of our weekly journal paper reading sessions at Hirota/Nomoto Lab, Tokyo Institute of Technology, we looked at the following paper:

Ch. Theoharatos, V.K. Pothos, N.A. Laskaris, G. Economou and S. Fotopoulos, “Multivariate Image Similarity in the Compressed Domain using Statistical Graph Matching”, Pattern Recognition, Special Issue on Similarity-based Pattern Recognition, vol.39, no. 10, pp. 1892-1904, 2006.

The leader of the session did a good job but at the end of the session, one of my colleagues commented on the review period of the paper.He said the review period was too short and rather strange.This paper was received on 8 March 2006 and got accepted on 6 April 2006. As a result, some members started thinking that maybe one of the authors is connected to the editorial team of the Pattern Recognition Journal. To say the truth, I , too, was amazed by the speed with which this paper was accepted for publication in a journal of such quality. But I did not suspect any foul play at all. In my view, it is possible for a paper to be received, reviewed and, if it is good enough, accepted  within a week. I say this because a paper does not come out the blue. It builds on the work that has been published already. Therefore, it is very easy for reviewers, who are supposed to be experts in a particular field, to know if the paper is good enough because they are generally aware of most of the referenced works in the paper.

Journal paper reviews, especially for technology research, must not take so long.We must make sure that the speed with papers are reviewed is in line with the pace at which technology changes.I have been a victim of a slow journal paper review process before.I submitted a paper in October 2006. I received the reviewers’ comments in November 2007 and some of the reviewers were blaming me for ignoring some related works which were published several months after I had submitted my paper for review. Here in Japan, I have a friend who has received the reviewers’ comments two years after he submitted his paper and the reviewers are asking him why he did not refer to related works which were actually published a year after he had submitted his paper. This is not fair!!!Last time, I suggested that journal editors must adopt the double blind review process for purposes of fairness. Today, I would like to ask all journal editors to emulate the example demonstrated by the Pattern Recognition Editors. A journal paper review must be swift so that the author should have time to attend to the comments raised while the paper is still fresh.In addition, I would like to suggest that reviewers must be paid for their work and as a result they must be doing their work within specified deadlines.