The goal is no more than 60 days from submission until first review completion. It is anticipated that some participants will take less time than allotted and others may take more. For a variety of reasons, there will be some manuscripts that take much longer.

These guidelines show how each part of the review cycle contributes to the total review time. If editors perform their roles within these suggested times, we can meet our goal of having most first reviews completed within 60 days (30 days for reviews after the first review), without sacrificing quality.


Assignment of Associate Editor (AE)

  • The Community Editor (CE) sends the manuscript to an AE within 7 days.

Acquiring reviewers for first review

  • AEs invite at least 4 reviewers within 7 days of being assigned a manuscript. Extra reviewers are invited because many review invitations will be declined or not answered.
  • AEs allow 7 days for invited reviewers to respond. AEs are encouraged to invite additional reviewers until at least 4 reviewers agree to review, because extra reviewers increase the likelihood of receiving the desired 3 timely reviews.  The AE goal is to have enough confirmed reviewers within 14 days of receiving assignment.


  • If there are fewer than 3 agreed reviewers at 21 days, the CE may wish to contact the AE about the delay.
  • At 40 days, if the AE has not obtained confirmation from at least 3 reviewers and there is no response from the AE indicating how the problem is being addressed, the CE may consider reassigning the manuscript to another AE.

Acquiring reviewers after first review

  • Revisions may have fewer or no outside reviewers at the discretion of the AE.

Completing reviews

  • Reviewers are asked to complete their reviews within 4 weeks of agreeing to review.
  • If two reviews are completed and they are not in conflict, the AE may act as the third reviewer.
  • The AE is encouraged to send the recommendation to the CE within 7 days of receiving the third review.


  • The CE makes the decision and notifies the authors within 7 days of receiving the AE recommendation.

Schedule Goals

Goal (days) Cumulative (days) Description
7 7 CE sends manuscript to an AE.
7 14 AEs invite at least 4 reviewers.
7 21 Reviewers respond and are chosen. More reviewers may be invited.
28 49 Reviews completed.
7 56 AE sends the recommendation to the CE.
7 63 CE makes the decision and notifies the authors.

Adopted July 12, 2006 (P-511) AIM, Portland, OR. Revised 7/07/2010, 7/18/2016.