This article presents an exploratory analysis of publication delays in the science field. Publication delay is defined as the time period between submission and publication of an article for a scientific journal. We obtained a first indication that these delays are longer with regard to journals in the fields of mathematics and technical sciences than they are in other fields of science. We suggest the use of data on publication delays in the analysis of the effects of electronic publishing on reference/citation patterns. A preliminary analysis on a small sample suggests that - under rather strict assumptions - the cited half-life of references may be reduced with a factor of about 2 if publication delays decrease radically.