Statistica Neerlandica is one of the world’s historical statistics journals. It was founded in 1946 with the ambition to cover all areas of statistics, from theoretical to applied, with a special emphasis on mathematical statistics, statistics for the behavioural sciences and biostatistics. It has seen its share of changes over the years, but it stood its ground and continues to serve a role in the wider statistical community. However, academia is not what it was in 1946 anymore. Back then, papers were submitted by post, then distributed by post to reviewers, who typically would be seeing only a few papers hit their desk every year. Back then, an academic career depended less on whether a certain paper would be accepted on time for getting a grant proposal funded. Back then, reading about the latest developments in the field might be delayed by a publication process, taking the better part of 1 or 2 years. For better or worse, academia was different. Perhaps more reflective, but also less dynamic.
For this reason, Statistica Neerlandica is embarking on an experiment: from 1 May 2023, it has become a fast turnaround journal. To serve authors and readers better in this contemporary academic environment, we aim to reduce the publication process from submission to publication to 2 months. By speeding up the turn-around time, papers do not linger in the purgatory of endless revisions, ideas get spread faster to a wider audience of readers, and authors get rewarded in a timely fashion for their hard work. In an academic environment of increased accountability, academic journals, such as Statistica Neerlandica, also need to be held more accountable.
Obviously, speeding up publication times requires several changes to the publication process. For a start, we ask the authors to submit papers that both stylistically and grammatically are as close to perfect as possible. With the advent of automatic grammar checkers, this has become within reach for everyone. Furthermore, the submitted papers should have a clear narrative, present an interesting contribution to the field, and do not require any revision. In fact, we have abolished the “major revision” judgment. Papers are either rejected or accepted. We will not always be able to provide lengthy rejection letters, but we hope that a timely answer is more valuable than an extensive review.
Besides usual research contributions stretching from interesting statistical applications and methodological innovations to theoretical, mathematical statistics contributions, we will also consider other, novel formats in the journal. We explicitly invite short notes that present novel ideas, without a fully worked-out theory, or interesting, small results that may be of use to other researchers. Secondly, we welcome contributions that aim to provide a concise introduction to new, important developments in statistics and data science. These introductions often provide an important service to PhD students and others that want to get familiar with the state of the art of our field.
It is our hope that these changes will build forth on the excellent work of the previous editorial team, consisting of Nan van Geloven, Marijtje van Duijn and Miroslav Ristic. The Impact Factor of the journal has been on the rise for the past few years. The new editorial team, consisting of Veronica Vinciotti, Edwin van den Heuvel and myself, gratefully acknowledge their contributions. Rather than a break from the past, the current team aims to do exactly the same as before: to serve its authors and audience as best as possible. We also acknowledge the support of Casper Albers, who as president of the Netherlands Society for Statistics and Operations Research (VVSOR), has supported the proposed changes, and has helped out in this transitory period. Finally, we are grateful that the editorial team of Associate Editors has embraced the new format. We will rely on them to make timely decisions, often without being able to consult reviewers.
Undoubtedly, we will make mistakes, reject some papers that we should have accepted. We apologize in advance. Also, although we will guard against this, some will argue that our focus on speeding up the publication process may reduce the quality of the editorial stage. We agree that removing the “major revision” is not a panacea. Some papers would have benefited from a more drawn-out review process. We will most likely reject those. It is not our aim to publish more average papers, but to publish high-quality contributions faster. We encourage authors to work with us, present their work in the best possible way, clearly indicating its contribution, in a clean, finalized format. We look forward to embarking with you, the authors and our readers, on an exciting experiment. The experiment is undoubtedly ambitious, but with the support of the Statistica Neerlandica academic editorial team and Wiley’s publishing managers, we sincerely aim to make it a success.
Ernst C. Wit, new Editor-in-Chief, Statistica Neerlandica