I was at a function this afternoon where I entered into conversation with a pleasant woman in her mid-twenties:
“So what do you do?”
“Most of my job is stalking professors.”
Quiz feature: What is her job?
Editorial assistant for a social science journal. The stalking she’s referring to is pestering faculty members not to be delinquent in doing their reviews. (Actually, as this post suggests, it’s not a phenomenon limited to professors, but professors are typically far concerned about observing review “deadlines” than graduate students are.)*
Apparently, she is very good at her job. In 2007, this journal has apparently not taken longer than three months to return any decision. (By contrast, the last three times I have submitted to a certain prominent sociology journal it has taken six months or more to get a verdict back, with varying outcomes.)
Indeed, as a weird coincidence, a collaborator had just that morning submitted to this same journal a paper on which I’m a co-author, and the editorial assistant proudly announced they had already come up with their list of 10 possible reviews and had 2 people from the list agree to do the reviews.
* BTW, for younger academic readers who find themselves hard to rouse to focused action in the absence of deadlines: something that becomes harder as you advance in academia is that the laxity around most deadlines becomes more plain and the non-calamity that will ensue from failing to meet most deadlines also becomes more plain, making deadlines generally an increasingly less effective nudge.
Additional bonus for following the jump: It’s possible that I may be signing on to something that would be a bit like editing a journal, only I think more interesting and fun. I can’t say more about it here yet, but I’m enthusiastic.