Expedited Editorial Decision in COVID-19 pandemic

Zhuanlan SUN, Sheng LIU, Yiwei LI, Chao MA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdowns have interrupted the way scientists live and work. This nevertheless caused an unforeseen impact of COVID-19: the pandemic substantially increased editorial speed. Here, we causally identify the impact of the pandemic on the editorial decision time, based on a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity (RD) design that compares (N = 339,199) papers submitted in the lead-up to and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that editors make acceptance decisions significantly quicker after the pandemic, reducing the editorial decision time of revised papers by 8.9 days on average. The pandemic, however, has unequal impacts on editors. The results reveal a larger reduction in editorial decision time for editors of high-tier journals, in the field of social science, or with busy work schedules. Finally, our findings also allude to the potential for the increase of editorial speed, and will stimulate policy changes in scientific enterprises that strive for accelerated publishing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101382
JournalJournal of Informetrics
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the China Scholarship Council, the Direct Grant (DR22A4) and Faculty Research Grant (DB22A6) at Lingnan University, and the General Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (72074045).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • work from home
  • editorial decision
  • regression discontinuity
  • scientific publishing
  • Editorial decision
  • Work from home
  • Regression discontinuity
  • Scientific publishing


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