Shakespeare Quarterly is a highly selective journal that is eager to receive strong work in all areas of Shakespeare studies by scholars at every career-stage. In the interest of making our editorial procedures as transparent as possible and giving readers and prospective authors an idea of the number and range of submissions we receive and publish, we provide the following information. We look forward to updating the submissions data annually. We welcome your questions and comments about submitting to SQ and about our editorial review process: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020 SQ received approximately 400 essay submissions. As of this writing, 34 of these have been accepted for publication.
The essays SQ receives cover a very broad range of interests and subject matter. It is almost always difficult to assign a single generic identity to any piece of literary criticism or scholarship, but the list below might provide some sense of what fields and subfields are most, and least, represented in terms of overall submissions and submissions published.
Close reading (incl. verbal, thematic, structural, character-criticism) 109 received, 5 accepted
Theory/Philosophy (incl. modern theoretical approaches) 47 received, 3 accepted
Political and/or legal history and/or theory, 32 received, 6 accepted
Modern performance (incl. adaptation and film) 28 received, 1 accepted
Gender and/or sexuality 26 received, 1 accepted
Textual studies 24 received, 5 accepted
Religion 20 received, 3 accepted
Critical race studies 15 received, 3 accepted
Theatre history 17 received, 3 accepted
Ecocriticism 14 received, 1 accepted
Authorship/attribution 17 received, 1 accepted
Biology/the body (incl. e.m. medicine, psychology, physiology) 14 received
Source study 13 received
Music 10 received
Biography 9 received, 2 accepted
EDITORIAL REVIEW PROCESS
Shakespeare Quarterly’s editorial process is highly consultative and collaborative.
All submissions are first reviewed by the Editor, who determines whether or not to send them out for double-blind peer review. We send approximately 50-60% of all submissions out for peer review. Those that are not sent out for review get an explanatory rejection letter from the Editor.
Essays sent out for peer review are sent to at least two readers. The Editor invites readers based on their expertise in the essay’s subject. Whenever possible, at least one peer reviewer is invited based on the citations in the submission itself.
After reviewers submit their reports, the Editor rereads the submission and considers it in relation to the reports. When both peer reviewers recommend rejection, the submission is almost always rejected. If the reviewers’ recommendations are mixed, we almost always ask the author to consider revising and resubmitting. Whether the decision is “Reject” or “Revise and Resubmit,” the Editor writes to the author and explains the decision by digesting the reports. The reports are included in the decision letter.
Peer reviewers are rarely unanimous in recommending publication: that is to say, the vast majority of essays we accept have gone through at least one revision. When—either after the first round of peer reviews or after a revision has been submitted—a piece looks promising for publication, the Editor and the Consulting Editors reread all of its versions and all of its reviewers’ reports in order to make a decision. We very rarely render a second “Revise and Resubmit” decision, though we will sometimes accept a piece on the condition that certain carefully specified further revisions are made.
SQ tries very hard to complete the editorial review process within 3 months. We almost always succeed. We try to maintain a backlog of about one year, meaning that an essay accepted in January of one year will be scheduled for publication in the Spring issue of the following year. Authors whose work is accepted for publication can therefore expect to wait a minimum of 15 months between initial submission and the essay’s appearance online and in print.
It is worth noting, finally, that the Editorial Board as a body is not directly involved in the decision process. Editorial Board membership is limited to a single term of five years. Approximately four new Board members are added each year to replace those whose terms have come to an end. We try to maintain a Board that represents a diversity of scholarly interests and academic institutions. The Editorial Board meets once a year (at the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America) to discuss matters of editorial policy, and the Editor occasionally consults the Board as a group on such matters. Board members are regularly invited to evaluate work within their area(s) of expertise, but the Board as a whole does not vote on the decision for any given essay.