Scientific journals welcome new subscribers without reservation. It is a pity that many are far less welcom ing to the other group of people on whom they they depend--their authors.

In one sense, it is inevitable that journals do not take pains to accommodate authors. Only a minority of scientists can succeed in having their work regularly published in the most respected and widely read journals in their field. Many papers are rejected by one or more journals before being accepted. What I don’t understand, however, is why the editorial process has to be so wearying and frustrating for scientists. All of us probably have stories to tell about editors who took months to acknowledge the receipt of a manuscript, or who failed to publish after agreeing to do so, or who otherwise made things difficult for anthors.

Some of us also know of cases of outright editorial misbehavior. In...

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