Political Science journals: acceptance rates & turnaround time

What are the prospects for getting work published in political science related journals, and how long can authors expect to wait from a title before a first decision on a manuscript submission?  The table below© lists information for peer reviewed political science journals about journal final acceptance rates and turnaround times for manuscripts sent for external review.  Data is for the last collection period editors can provide (mostly 2011) and excludes journal special issues.  ‘Turnaround time’ is defined as the date from when a manuscript was first received by the journal to the date the author of the manuscript was provided with a first decision.


(italics: new or updated entry in last 7 days)


Acceptance Rate
% mean average

mean number of days to 1st decision

Europe, US, other
publisher address +
Acta Politica Palgrave 27 92 Eur
Admin. Sci. Quart. Sage 9 62 US
African Affairs Oxford 12 60 US
Am. J. Pol. Sci. Wiley 11 91 US
Am. Pol. Res. Sage 21 49 US
Am. Pol. Sci. Rev Cambridge 8 48 US
Am. Rev. Pub. Admin. Sage 17 44 US
Brit. J.Pol. Sci. Cambridge 11 47 Eur
Brit J. Pol & I. R. Wiley 35 63 Eur
Camb. Rev. Intl. Affairs T&F 25 90 Eur
Canadian J of Pol. Sci. Cambridge 27 72 Canada
Citizenship Studies T&F 25 74 Eur/US-Can
Comparative Eur. Pol Palgrave 30 45-50 Eur/US
Comparative Pol. Sheridan 9 86 US
Comparative Pol. Stud. Sage 14 53 US
Contemp. Pol. Theory Palgrave 10-15 60 Eur/US
Environmental Pol. T&F 19 n/a Eur
Ethics & Global Pol. CoAction 17 61 Eur
EiOP 29 66 Eur
Europ. J. Devel. Research Palgrave 29 60 Eur
Europ. J. Int. Rel. Sage 11 94 Eur/Aus
Europ. J Pol. Econ. Elsevier 15 40 Eur
Europ. J. Pol. Res. Wiley 6 42 Eur
Europ. Union Pol. Sage 20 45 Eur
Foreign Policy Anal. Wiley 27 64 US
French Pol. Palgrave 37 68 Eur/US
Governance Wiley 13 33 US
Govt. & Opposition Cambridge 20 54 Eur
Govt. & Policy (E&P:C) Pion 25 92 Eur
Intl. Fem. J. of Pol. T&F 18 75 US
Intl. Interactions T&F 13 45 US
Intl. Org. Cambridge 10 35 US
Intl. Polit. Sociol. Wiley 13 126 US
Intl. Stud. Quart. Wiley 9 50 US
Intl. Stud. Perspec. Wiley 25 68 US
Intl. Stud. Rev. Wiley 48 73 US
Irish Political Studies T&F 46 54 Eur
J. Comms. Mgmt. Emerald 29 65 Eur
J. Conflict Resolution Sage 14 105 US
J. Europ. Integration. T&F 26 80+ Eur
J. Europ Public Pol T&F 24 42 Eur
J. Int. Bus. Stud. Palgrave 6 76 US
J. Polit. Philosophy Wiley 5 90% in 60 Aus
J. of Politics Cambridge 12 55 US
J. Poverty & Soc. Justice Policy 30 80 Eur
J. Public Affairs Wiley 32 70 Eur
J. Pub. Adm. Res  Theory Oxford 11 82 US
J. Social Policy Cambridge 20 91 Eur
J. Theoretical Politics Sage 15-20 90 Eur
J. Transatlantic Studies T&F 36 98 Eur
J. World Business Elsevier 12 65 US-Eur
Latin American Politics & Society Wiley 15 40 US
Legis. Stud. Quart. Wiley 14 60 US
New Polit. Econ. T&F 28 50 Eur
Org. & Mgmt. T&F 25 60 US
Organization Sage 20 112 Eur/US
Party Politics Sage 21 57 Eur
Philosophy & Public Affairs Wiley 3 95% in 60 US
Policy Sciences Springer 26 39 US
Policy Stud. J. Wiley 14 75 US
Polis 25 90 Eur/US
Politics Wiley 22 44 Eur
Polit. Behav. Springer 14 85 US
Polit. Comm. T&F 11 42 US
Polit. Geography Elsevier 22 37 Eur
Polit. Psychology Wiley 13 67 US
Polit. Quart. Wiley 60 40 Eur
Polit. Res. Quart Sage 12 75 US
Polit. Stud. Wiley 33 100 Eur
Polit.Theory Sage 9 97 US
Politics Philosophy Economics Sage 10 120 US
Problems of Post Communism ME Sharpe 26 60 US
Pub. Admin. Wiley 13 40 Eur/US
Pub. Admin. Review Wiley 12 47 US
Public Choice Springer 10 44 US/Eur
Public Opinion Quarterly Oxford 13 78 Eur
Public Policy & Admin Sage 21 39 UK
Publius Oxford 20 58 US
Quart. J. Pol. Sci. Now 14 n/a US/Eur
Regulation & Governance Wiley 12 51 Eur/US
Rev. of Intl. Orgs. Springer 15 47 Eur
Rev. of Intl. Polit. Econ. T&F 13 90 Eur/US-Can
Rev. of Intl. Stud. Cambridge 11 70 Eur
Rev. of Policy Research Wiley 36 58 US
Scand. Polit. Stud. Wiley 24 59 Eur
Security Studies T&F 10 60 US
Socio-Economic Review Oxford 13 35 Eur
Soc. Pol. & Admin Wiley 18 34 Eur
Soc. Pol & Soc. Cambridge 38 88 Eur
Soc. Sci. Quart. Wiley 14 133 US
South Europ. Soc & Pol. T&F 6 63 Eur
State Pol. & Policy Quart. Sage 25 50 US
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism T&F 36 57 US
Swiss Pol. Sci. Rev. Wiley 30 78 Eur
Terrorism & Political Violence T&F 26 39 US
The Forum De Gruyter 25 30 US
Work Employ & Soc Sage 18 47 Eur
World Politics Cambridge 7 83 US
Total: 97
Mean averages all 20 66
Europe: 37 24
US&Can: 45 16
Europe/US/Can/Aus: 14


The RSS feed for the table above© is http://www.reviewmyreview.eu/feed

54 thoughts on “Political Science journals: acceptance rates & turnaround time

  1. I recently withdrew my submission to the Journal of Legislative Studies because, after (literally) one year and several emails with the co-ordinator, they were not able to get find reviewers or get reviews back.

  2. East European Politics provided one review for my paper after almost 6 months. Problems of Post-Communism replied in about two months and provided two reviews.
    East European Politics and Societies: two reviews after about ten months.

  3. Thank you for compiling this tremendous source. Still, there are three excellent journals that I did not see listed: Please consider “New Political Science,” “Perspectives on Politics,” and especially “PS: Political Science & Politics.”

    • Sorry, all the info there is, is in the table. Happy to include these in the next round, though not sure when the next time opportunity to get to this will come around ..

      • OK, in advance thanks for the time you invest in this. I hope you get the necessary praise for your work, because as a PhD student in public management this is truly excellent information! You have my gratitude.

  4. The three journals I’ve encountered where a decision has been taken on the basis of a single reviewer report are: European Urban & Regional Studies; Journal of Common Market Studies; & the Journal of Public Policy (none of which supplied acceptance rates/turnaround times data). There are probably others..

  5. Got an editorial decision on a submission recently in which the justification was that the referees had not offered strong advocacy for publication. Hoping this was just clumsy semantics from a non-native speaker trying to be diplomatic, but if not: the idea that referees have to engage editors with advocacy before something gets published is a reflection that the laws of supply & demand are too far out of sync, such that we may well be missing stuff which is worthy of being out there. It also misses recognition that referees may be ambivalent, for reasons best known to themselves, about something else being published on a specialised topic they may feel some degree of ownership over. Seems something of a paradox that political scientists don’t always have well tuned antennae for realpolitik; interesting also that political scientists know only too well at an analytical level the problems caused by a concentration of executive power and the behavioural effects of anonymity, but with relatively limited impact on practice; for me, the power of social institutions generally trump rational choice explanations of behaviour, but, as ever, the empirics throw up interesting challenges to nuance..

  6. I was just looking at the info for the journal that I edit (ISQ) and saw that it is out of date (turnaround time excluding desk rejection is 50 days, including is 33 days). Than I saw John comment on the dated character of the APSR figures.

    Let me suggest that you add a column for date of update in the table. The current ‘updated within last seven days’ doesn’t provide adequate information on the age of the rates. Also, you should break out whether (a) the turnaround time includes editorial rejections and (b) whether you know one way or the other. Makes a big difference.

    • Some good points, which I will endeavour to do justice to in the next update survey, which is overdue. Established US based journals generally have a good level of resourcing to collect data, often supported by professional societies, whereas for some journals based elsewhere the data either hasn’t been aggregated before the establishment of this site such that the original choice was simply to ask for the length of time between receipt and notification.

      On the subject of resources I’m a one man band here, and, like you, with my own academic workload. But if ISQ, or any other journals or societies, could lend a hand via a short time secondment to update the data file of journal editors/email addresses then a new survey could be undertaken relatively quickly. Any offers?

      Meantime, I’ve updated ISQ

  7. I read a blog from an editor of an established journal in which jilted authors were advised to consider the reviews they get as dispassionate, impartial advice. In the best of all possibilities, but let’s also add a dose of realism here; we know anonymity has behavioural effects and that other contributions, approaches or conclusions may not always be welcomed, while reviews can be narcissistic.


    Some journals to include in your next round. Thanks for this listing …

  9. I’d like to update the turnaround time for the American Political Science Review (I’m the Lead Editor). The 2011 data precedes our editorship here at the University of North Texas (we have been editors since July 2, 2012)
    Our current average turnaround time to first decision since July 2012 is 48 days.

  10. An interesting new model is provided by the open access journal Politics & Governance, which offers a desk review standard of 3 days and gives peer reviewers two weeks to conduct a review in return for one future free of charge open access publishing slot

    • They’re listed among the journals indicating an intention to provide the data; a follow-up email has now been sent in response to your enquiry

  11. One issue to look out for with journals which don’t use editorial management systems such as ‘manuscript central’ but administer the review process manually is whether files sent as email attachments have document property information removed from them first. Whilst authors and reviewers should do this for themselves, sometimes it is overlooked and editors/administrators don’t always check this.

  12. Thank you very much for the information that you give us
    I would like to ask how you have calculated the average of turnaround, if it is calculated since the author sends the item until the coordinator accepts or if it is since you can send the first assessment to the author from the referees.
    Thank you very much

  13. Would you be able to add data for Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, based at London School of Economics? This journal publishes work in political and social philosophy.

    Many thanks,


    David Thunder,
    Research Fellow,
    Institute for Culture and Society
    University of Navarra

  14. One of the really weak points in the system of academic publishing is the irresponsibility of some reviewers with respect to timely response. It would be good to have information on the management strategies of editors regarding paper reviewers who do not reply within a given time period, say, 3 weeks. Do the editors then (a) send a reminder, (b) find another reviewer, or (c) just wait? And if they send a reminder what if the reviewer still does not come up with the goods?

    • Practice would reveal a mix of these, but the core problem remains a lack of transparency, leading to some of the outcomes described on this site. The editorial management software which most journals use allow event alerts in the review process to be shared with authors, but i’ve never come across it being used. An article I read this week on a subscription service, Research Professional (‘Give reviewing its due’, by John Whitfield), discussed ways of incentivising reviewers by devices such as annual public recognition of best practice (timely responses, constructive reviews, etc). A related link mentioned how the British Medical Journal has used open reviewing for some time, apparently successfully, which includes publishing reviews alongside published articles. As long as there is anonymity and executive control throughout the process to maintain high information asymmetries, problems will remain.

      A related problem i’ve recently come across is where a small number of people have too many slots on editorial boards of the few journals in a specialist field. Because such individuals end up refereeing a disproportionately large share of articles in their field problems will become more extreme by incentivising informal network politics.

      Strange that political scientists can’t apply subject norms to self-organisation; these things usually start with professional societies developing codes of conduct and then develop into something more substantive. Something would be better than nothing

  15. My last manuscript submission, with European Urban and Regional Studies, took almost 300 days until first decision. When I had asked about progress with the managing editor I got no response, so I escalated it to the journal editor; shortly thereafter I received a single, short review which contains a link to the department where the managing editor is based. Apparently there had been a difficulty in recruiting reviewers so I sought information about the dates when invitations had been issued, although when I then asked about the unaccounted for periods involving many months I received no response.

    The title has never responded to requests for information about turnaround time and acceptance rates.

  16. Some of those acceptance rates look rather odd to me. Contemporary Political Theory 10-15% but Political Studies 33%. Really? I’ve never submitted to the former, but I was once asked to review for them (a couple of years back admittedly) and the editor told me their acceptance rate was about twice this figure.

    Out of interest, are we sure that all journals calculate this figure in the same way? (E.g. if I submit a paper, get R&R, then am accepted in revised version – I’d say that’s one submission with 100% acceptance, but some might call it two submissions and 50% acceptance…)

    • Final acceptance rates include R&R. Data for these titles each arose from two exchanges of detail; there is more on the detail of data collection on the front page & in responses to other comments. Wherever a data return appears unusual it has been queried, and titles which do not resolve the queries raised with them are not included in the listing.

    • There are different ways to compute acceptance rates and computation varies a lot. It is also difficult to compute acceptance rates year over year because of papers that go across years and need to be counted only once.
      For example as Perry and Michalski (2010) show http://jmc.sagepub.com/content/65/2/168.abstract there are three ways to compute acceptance rates:
      1) Number accepted / Number submitted
      2) Number accepted / Number all review decisions
      3) Number accepted / Number of final decisions

  17. I’m the Political Geography Publisher and would like to provide an update on the above figures. The average time to first decision for the last 12 months (July-July) is 5.3 weeks and editorial time (submission to acceptance) for the same period is 35 weeks. Next year the journal will have article based publishing which means papers will be fully citable (vol/iss/pg nr) within 1-2 weeks of acceptance and placed into an ‘Issue in Progress’ on ScienceDirect replacing the article in press (for an example see Geoforum: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00167185).
    In addition, the European Journal of Political Economy does not fall under my remit but I would like to clarify that the time to first decision over the past 12 months is 8.6 weeks and Editorial time is 45.5 weeks.

    • Deidre, thanks for the latest data, inc. now in the table. Elsevier provides a lot of information for prospective authors on its journal web pages, often including the name of the title publishing manager which will reassure authors that in the event something does goes beyond limits there is someone in the publishing team who will respond. Where a problem does arise authors often find a wall of silence; the medical journal The Lancet appoints an Ombudsman to consider any complaints.

  18. Pingback: Descriptive Statistics and Political Science Journals’ Manuscript Processing | Will Opines

    • The main task in the first instance has been to establish this site with the participation of most journals, using indicators which many titles (esp. in the US) have readily available. The mode, and variation, will be requested during the next data collection exercise.

    • The mean average for all titles is currently 2-3 months. A key issue for a particular title is whether there seems to be a trend of a large number of cases of substantial variation from the norm. Around 20% of authors report turnaround times well in excess of 3 months.

    • Thanks – it’s been good to have encouragement from authors, and some editors also – we have now reached the point of coverage that more requests from editors for inclusion are now received than new data requests sent out. As you can imagine, it has not all been plain sailing; for instance, a UK based publishing manager of Taylor & Francis has advised editors against supplying data. As his portfolio mainly includes European studies titles, this will explain the generally lower response from titles in the field; however, there are more editors of T&F published titles to have supplied data than their non-responding titles. He has not responded to requests to try to identify what the objection might be, but the word ‘snapshots’ has come up in conversations with the editors of three different T&F titles; fulfillment of this wish for a regular data collection exercise will address this. Interesting that the T&F editorial management system itself uses mean averages to inform its users about turnaround, explaining that: “Average days from submission to first decision will display average number of days from submission to first decision for all original and resubmitted manuscript. Withdrawn manuscripts will be included if the decision task is completed prior to the withdrawal. Un-submitted manuscripts and manuscripts with rescinded decision tasks are not included.” The latter does raise the issue of micro-detail involved in a calculus; the first task has been to get the concept established based upon using the data which titles have available, and from here we can progress to the development and adoption of a universal standard which is currently lacking.

      • There’s a recent story in the Times Higher Education Supplement about Taylor & Francis publication sensitivities on an issue involving publishing in a T&F journal

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