An example of how sending a paper to a statistics journal can get you scooped


In a previous post I complained about statistics journals taking way too long rejecting papers. Today I am complaining because even when everything goes right —better than above average review time (for statistics), useful and insightful comments from reviewers— we can come out losing.

In May 2011 we submitted a paper on removing GC bias from RNAseq data to Biostatistics. It was published on December 27. However, we were scooped by this BMC Bioinformatics paper published ten days earlier despite being submitted three months later and accepted 11 days after ours. The competing paper has already earned the “highly accessed” distinction. The two papers, both statistics papers, are very similar, yet I am afraid more people will read the one that was finished second but published first.

Note that Biostatistics is one of the fastest stat journals out there. I don’t blame the journal at all here. We statisticians have to change our culture when it comes to reviews.