I submitted a paper to a journal in mathematics. For the last three and a half months, the status of the article is with editor. I sent a mail to the editorial office to update the status. They replied me saying they will ask the handling editor to contact me. After one more month I asked to expedite the process. No reply. Now for the last three and half months, there is no change in the process.

Is it better to withdraw the article or wait for some more time?

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    Voting to reopen this as the journal in question does not only act slowly (which is addressed in the duplicate), but doesn’t react at all. – Wrzlprmft Dec 8 '17 at 17:33

If the journal fails to respond to your requests over several months, this suggests that something or somebody is not working properly – even in very-long-review fields like mathematics. It may be that the editor is missing in action or that some communication got lost or the entire journal is malfunctioning, but what exactly is going on is hard to tell for any outsider.

From your account of the situation I can only see two reasons why withdrawing may not be in your favor:

  • The next-best choice of journal is significantly worse (in terms of level or suitability).

  • The paper is already under review but the status doesn’t reflect it. In this case you actually lose progress by withdrawing.

You have to decide for yourself how likely it is that one of these applies, but I consider them rather unlikely. Should you decide not to withdraw immediately, I would at least send another mail to the journal setting a clear short deadline (a week or so) for them to show at least some sign of life.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I will wait for some more time. – Ram Dec 9 '17 at 3:13
  • I will wait for some more time. – As you wish, but if you ask me, you did that enough already. – Wrzlprmft Dec 9 '17 at 7:32

It depends whether the paper was already sent to the reviewers or if it is standing on the editor's desk. I think that 3 months is too much time for deciding if the paper will be submitted to review or desk rejected (at least in Physics/Soft Matter/Phys.Bio.). However, I am aware that in some Mathematical fields the time from the paper submission to the publishing is general longer than in Physics. Sometimes the read is challenging for the editor and also finding the adequate reviewers.

I had several delays with one of my papers because of the journal lost contact with the handling editors (2 times), make sure that this is not the case. I decided to not withdraw my paper because it is in the last round of reviews and I already spent a lot of effort in the process.

Good luck!


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