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I am a PhD candidate in biology. I have a paper that I need to be published for me to graduate. It was accepted for publication in November 2017. I returned corrected proofs in December. In January the production team asked about "problems to be fixed" before final production and I immediately responded. Now, in February, the paper is still not available online.

I've noticed that there are papers in the same journal which were only accepted in the last days of January and now are already available online with pages and volume. I also noticed that there are papers still 'in-press' for a very long time already.

My concern and curiosity is why there are articles stayed as in-press (corrected proof without bibliographic information) for a long period of time while there are newly accepted paper automatically out with complete bibliographic information. for example below is two paper:

In-press until present: Received 6 May 2017, Revised 7 October 2017, Accepted 10 October 2017, Available online 16 October 2017.

Available online with complete bibliographic information: Received 23 August 2017, Revised 15 November 2017, Accepted 18 November 2017, Available online 6 December 2017.

What may be the reason for this?

Would it be right if I email the production team of the journal if it is possible to release my paper since I am waiting for it for my graduation application this semester?

  • Why are you asking this question? Why are you “waiting for it for my graduation application this semester”? – Stella Biderman Feb 6 '18 at 16:42
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    Also, why do you need the paper to show up in a journal for you to graduate? That's an unusual requirement. – Stella Biderman Feb 6 '18 at 17:36
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    Would an acceptance letter work? This has worked for me for several scholarship application. Usually, ppl are aware that there might be a lag between acceptance and print – Emilie Feb 6 '18 at 19:06
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    @StellaBiderman For instance, the PhD school of my university requires students to have at least a published paper for graduation, but it's sufficient to have the acceptance letter. – Massimo Ortolano Feb 6 '18 at 22:49
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    An "accept with revision" implies sometimes a second (lightweight) reviewing, what may can cause the delay. – Matthias Feb 7 '18 at 7:08
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Unless your paper was intended as part of a special issue, you absolutely should contact the journal to inquire about why the publication has not yet been published. In this digital age, three months is more than enough time to get a paper through the post-acceptance pipeline.

In your first email, I would just ask about the delay in publication. If you do not get a satisfactory response, then I would escalate and mention the need for the paper to be published to graduate.

Also, I would check with your school about the need for formal publication to occur. In many instances, an acceptance memo is sufficient.

  • Thanks @aeismail! It's not part of any special issue. I raised this question as I noticed that my paper was delayed and there are papers that were just accepted weeks ago that have page # and available online already. My paper was accepted in November 2017 and returned the correction but it's even in 'inpress' until right now. – xavier Feb 7 '18 at 5:05
  • Yes, an acceptance memo is ok but in-press or available online status would be preferable – xavier Feb 7 '18 at 5:06
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Yes, you should. The last publisher I worked for had a target of 25 working days from acceptance till online publication. There's some variance here since the publisher can't control how long it takes for the author to respond, but from your description your response was immediate. In that case four months is well above reasonable. I would write back asking for a status update.

For the record, I'd start thinking about sending a chaser if it takes more than 6-8 weeks.

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