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I try to avoid sending things around the Christmas holiday--so, from the last week of classes until sometime early in the new year.

I may be wrong, but I figure that between all of the marking and the holiday (with its accompanying travel), people are slower to respond to referee requests, more prone to forget they've agreed, etc.

I wouldn't be surprised in June and July are generally slow months, too. But I suspect that if you catch referees just before they have an extended break--so, in April or May--then that's probably the best time. They can look ahead to their long stretch of time and so are more likely to say 'yes', and are more likely to clear some time for it early in their break. Whereas once they've been off for a while, they're out of the habit of responding promptly, are coming to the end of their break having done less of their own work than expected, etc.

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