SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 2 Contents Letters to the Editor

Behind the Scholarship
How the Satirical Linguistic Sausage is Made

A Letter from Editorial Associate Associate Editor Contributing Editor Senior Editor Jonathan Downie

(Submitted November 2009; Accepted March 2020)

At our most recent staff retreat in a back garden somewhere slightly fancier than Slough, it was mentioned that all the hip journals are beginning to publish the dates when papers were submitted and when they were eventually published after the inevitable and ultimately gratifying editorial discussions, reviewer searches, emails to reviewers reminding them that they agreed to review the paper, 3 a.m. coffee spills, checking that the odd-looking thing was a diagram and not a coffee spill and translation from reviewer-speak to the language of the journal (see Tayshon, et al., “Reviewerish Field Notes”, SpecGram CLXXV.2).

Dalal Mahmoud ElGemei, 2014, “Translation of Deception or Deception in Translation: A Cognitive-Pragmatic Based study of deception in translation”, in Said Faiq, Ovidi Carbonell, Ali Almanna (eds.), Culguage in/of Translation from Arabic series, Lincom.

Chiasmus of the Month
April 2020

While we think of ourselves as leaders and not followers, due to the unique selection of topics appearing in these pages, we do now feel obliged to write something about the time lag between submission and publication and our own, first-in-the-field process.

Each article we receive is first sniffed by our army of interns. Sure, this process has become more difficult since we began accepting electronic submissions, but there is nothing like the sight of young linguists detecting the faint aroma of panic, boredom and hope that hangs around many papers.

After a good sniffing, the best-smelling papers are then shuttled over by vacuum tube to our sturdy team of reviewers. We take blind reviewing seriously and so strictly forbid reviewers from actually reading the papers before they comment on them. Our internal evaluations have found these “gut feeling” reviews to be indistinguishable from those sent by other journals. It also prevents reviewers insisting on self-citation.

Lastly, reports on the aroma of each paper and the gut feeling brought on by its title are carried by Himalayan donkey to the editors, who sit in their offices surrounded by grape-profferers and fan-wafters and hand down their decisions, which of course, take absolutely no notice of the rest of the process. We find that evidence biases us so.

The entire process, from first snort to the final dart flung at a dart board by a trained monkey, takes about as long as we want it to. Some articles sail through and are published within a month or so. Others languish for years before we send out an oddly-worded email asking for vague, contradictory changes. It’s just like the rest of academia, really.

Letters to the Editor
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVII, No 2 Contents