Production cycle

The Resident Ecologist submitted a revised manuscript to a Blackwell-published journal in early March. This was after a pretty solid couple of months of revisions in response to a first review. The revised version was sent off electronically (no multiple copies, no floppy disk in the mail) and had a positive response from the editor—it was accepted—three days later.

Two weeks later, word came that the manuscript had finished up at the copy-editor’s desk and was headed to the typesetter. This morning, a lovely page proof document was deposited in the inbox. Not bad, Science Guys, not bad at all.

I know that there are all kinds of vagaries to publishing, but it’s striking how much difference there is between journals. The article that I recently got published spent over a year in somebody’s drawer between the time it was accepted and the time I ever saw a page proof—and several more months to get to press. So, I wonder: Is this an argument in favor of gigantic publishers gobbling up journals, a difference between the publishing models of different fields, or just two remarkable outliers at each end of the continuum?