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I have a paper with revise and resubmit in a journal of Elsevier. In one part of the mail, the editor wrote me this:

If you choose to revise your manuscript it will be due into the Editorial Office by the Aug 30, 2018.

The deadline is given only because we want you to give a high priority to revision of this submission. We assure you that a revision will be reviewed normally even if it is submitted after the deadline.

I do not understand this deadline. If the paper is reviewed normally even if it is submitted after the deadline, why do they put a deadline?

So is it possible to submit the revised version after the deadline?

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    Might it be the difference between "review as a revision" (i.e. a continuation of the previous submission) and "review as a new submission"? – Oleg Lobachev Aug 1 '18 at 15:06
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Journals have deadlines for publication. Everything that will go into issue X needs to be ready by date Y. If you meet their deadlines you increase your chances for early publication, otherwise you may be put off.

However another problem is that while the reviewing is "normal" the editorial process of choosing papers for issue X also comes in to play. The other language of the publisher's reply might imply conditional acceptance if returned by the date given. After that, unless you already have acceptance, it might become more tenuous.

Basically, what they are saying is "We have constraints here. Please help us meet them." It would be good, if not essential, to honor that.

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  • Pretty sure this answer is incorrect. The journal has no way of knowing what articles are submitted or when they'll be accepted, so at this stage it can't be for inclusion in an issue. – Allure Aug 1 '18 at 23:57
  • @Allure, I don't understand. How can a journal not know what articles are submitted to it? They are accepted or rejected by editors who are employees. Conference proceedings are a bit different, of course, but even they are scheduled. – Buffy Aug 2 '18 at 0:04
  • They know the articles after they're submitted, but not before. You can't plan an issue in advance (unless it's a special issue with invited papers etc). Further since you don't know whether the paper is going to be accepted, you cannot assign an issue to the paper when handing out a revise decision. – Allure Aug 2 '18 at 0:07
  • @Allure. Still not getting it. Submission to a journal is the first step. You seem to be assuming it happens after review. I'm pretty sure that doesn't ever happen. Accepted by who? It is the Journal and its editors who accept, not some other independent entity. But an editor could tentatively schedule a paper for an issue contingent on speedy action by authors and reviewers. Your comments almost seem to imply that "the Journal" is just a printing service. It is much more than that and is in control. Nearly complete control. What am I missing here? – Buffy Aug 2 '18 at 0:13
  • Yes, it's the journal and its editors that accept the paper, but how can they know before the revision arrives that the revision will be accepted? They can't - the revision could be terrible, it might never arrive, it might be withdrawn. This major unknown hangs over any decision to tentatively schedule a paper for an issue. It's like assigning a student to a professor before the student accepts the admission offer. Sure you can, but it's not good use of time. That's not considering possible delays during the publication process, too. – Allure Aug 2 '18 at 0:18
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It sounds like they're giving you a deadline so that you have a rough idea of how soon they would like you to submit your revisions. Since they are giving you a month to complete it, you can except the editor(s) to be rather displeased if you take a year to do it. It's probably also an indication of how soon you can expect to receive reminder emails.

(Considering that the month in question is August, when people are often on holidays, I would think it would be safe to take a bit more time to complete the revisions. But I wouldn't try waiting e.g. to January to send my revisions if I were you.)

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There are two common reasons in my experience. The first is that it can give an indication of how extensive the revisions requested are. For example if the editor is only asking for typo corrections and a clearer figure, she might ask for a revision in two weeks. But if she wants more data that's difficult to acquire, she might give two months or longer.

The other reason is purely pragmatic. By setting a deadline, two important things happen in the editorial management system (EMS):

  1. The automated reminder system is triggered. You can expect to receive automated reminders that your revision is due on ____ a week before the nominal deadline, something that would not happen without a deadline.
  2. Some authors simply abandon a submission. I don't think they abandon the paper entirely, but they stop caring about the submission to this journal. In that case the paper goes dormant, which clutters the EMS. If a long time has passed since the deadline, then the desk editor can reasonably conclude that the authors are not planning to revise the paper. They can then confirm with the authors and / or just remove the submission from the EMS.

Can you submit a revision after the deadline? Yes - that's why the email says "We assure you that a revision will be reviewed normally even if it is submitted after the deadline." However, if you're going to take a lot longer than the deadline to submit a revision, you should warn the editorial office that you are planning to revise the article, or it might be removed (per #2 above).

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