This letter is meant to bring two common complaints, one petty and one not so petty, formally to the attention of the scientific public.

First, as documented in Science (L. Roberts, "The rush to publish," Science, 251:260-3, 1991), there is great inequity in the peer review process of manuscripts. These irregularities can have consequences for the investigator on funding, job opportunities, and scientific priority.

I would make a simple proposal that journals have a standard reply time, for example, 30 days; that is, a contributor would be notified 30 days after receipt of the manuscript (whether the manuscript was reviewed in one day or 29 days) of the suitability of the manuscript for publication. This would avoid delays caused by lazy or malicious reviewers. If an editor did not receive the review in a timely fashion, it would be the editor's responsibility to review it himself or herself or to...

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