Boy was I optimistic! Two months have gone by since that last post. And in that time I did a pretty good job (as the new Editor of the journal Cognition) - sending papers out to review, writing to the occasional author... but then I made a mistake. An ENORMOUS mistake. I went on holiday.
Just two weeks. Immediately before a conference. So by the time I got back, three weeks had gone by without me doing a single thing for the journal (except write the editorials for the first issues of next year - each morning I'd get the laptop out before the kids woke up...). I'd cleared the queue before leaving. But now, there are roughly 60 papers waiting to be sent out to review, and 30 papers on which I need to make a decision (to accept, reject, or recommend revision). So I have to work out how to clear the backlog.
And that's the problem... Suppose I wanted to have everything cleared in the space of 4 weeks. I'd have those 60 papers already on the queue, and then another 80 or so that would come in during those 4 weeks. To clear the whole lot would require that I send out 5 papers for review each day (7 days a week), and with the 30 papers in the queue already requiring decisions, and another 40 (I'm being pessimistic now) accumulating over those 4 weeks, I'd need to 'action' (i.e. make editorial decisions on) between two and three papers each day (7 days a week).
Yes, I'm exaggerating. I know for a fact that the highest submission rate is over the summer. So I can relax. I can probably get away with sending out just 4 papers for review, and actioning just 2 papers, each day. 7 days a week. For 4 weeks. No worries...