A Helpful Tip
[UPDATE: In response to comments below: I am fortunate that I am not relying on this piece--or another one that has been at a journal for five months--for tenure or promotion. I'm tenured and already have enough scholarship for promotion when the time comes. My point is not "woe is me, I have been wronged," but "here's something seriously wrong with the academic system." I hope to do a post in a few days about how poor performance by the keepers of major institutions is doing as much to harm and frustrate junior faculty as the state of the job market.]
Dear Editor of Relatively Respected Journal,
A. It is perfectly acceptable to reject an inappropriate article with a one-line email.
B. It is perfectly acceptable to reject an inapproriate article after a thorough review that takes five solid months. The reader's report rejecting the piece is well worth the wait.
Combining the terse reply of A with the slothful response time of B is not at all acceptable. The article so rejected is a brief note. I could translate it into Gothic, translate it from Gothic into Old Norse, translate it from Old Norse to Latin and then paint it on the side of my house in less than five months. To get only one pro forma line out of that long wait is a fairly grotesque failure of courtesy and, more importantly, intellectual responsibility. I'll bet those slothful, lazy reviewers put their reviewing duties on their vitae.
If you wonder why so many younger scholars are starting to submit articles simultaneously to multiple journals (creating headaches and strife for editors), see above.
P.S.: Now I'll be sending the article off the journal where I thought it belonged in the first place.