Hey all! I'm getting ready to submit my first manuscript. For those of you who have published, I was wondering what were the most common revisions requested. What did you experience for turnaround time from submission to publication?
It depends a lot on what journal you send it to. I would say, on average, it takes about 4 months, but others may have had very different experiences. I think most, if not all, APA journals will now let you track the progress of the manuscript online - so it tells you when it goes out to reviewers, when it comes back to the editor, etc.
Once you get it back, you'll get one of 3 responses: rejected, revise and resubmit (so not accepted but not rejected either), or accepted pending revisions. It is incredibly rare that a manuscript is accepted as is - I know of one professor who actually framed the letter from the editor for the one time she had a paper accepted without needing revision!
If your paper is accepted pending revision, the changes are usually fairly small - maybe adding more info to the methods, expanding on the discussion, or adding a table to clarify. If you are asked to revise and resubmit, the changes are typically much more substantial. You may be required to make substantial changes to your conceptual model and rerun analyses. If the paper is rejected, it is usually because either the reviewers found multiple flaws that they didn't think could be easily fixed, or because the topic of the paper wasn't deemed important enough by the editor (this can happen with some of the bigger journals).
Amy gave some good advice. I will add that most journals take less than 4 months, more like 3. Some journals are faster-- as short as 6 weeks. Online submission has made things faster. As for what specific revisions people ask for, it all depends on the paper! I've had reviewers ask to add more detail on participant recruitment, clarify of statements, report frequencies instead of means...it's impossible to predict! if your advisor (I'm assuming you're writing this with someone) says it's ready to go, go ahead and submit it, and see what reviewers have to say. If it ends up getting rejected, it's not the end of the world-- you can use the reviewers comments to improve your paper and send it somewhere else. I just had my first paper rejection a few months ago-- it stung a bit, but I had to remind yourself that rejection is a part of academia, so I better get used to it.
I can't add much to what the others have said--just wanted to reiterate that changes can vary by reviewer and also wanted to add a few thoughts.
If you're outright rejected and not asked to resubmit, don't take it as the end of the world. It could possibly be the journal--try to figure out how to revise to make it even better and submit elsewhere.
Additionally, timeframes from submission to publication can vary based on journal, reviewers, etc. My current advisor indicates he always allows approximately a year and if it's done within 6 months, then he's happy. I've had a number of profs talk about pubs that took a year, or two, or three . . . mostly because the reviewers took so long to get back to 'em. And, the longest I've ever heard was recently, prof finally received an acceptance after 8-10 years, I believe it was. He wasn't too happy with them. Not sure I blame him.