I am wondering how long it takes for the first round review for physical review letters (PRL) on average. I have three referees. One of the referees returned the report in 4 weeks. But the other two referees have not responded to the review requests for 5 weeks. Is it common for PRL?

1 Answer 1


It can be long; 4 weeks is not uncommon, but much past 6 usually triggers some editorial action. Fortunately APS has a good manuscript system so it’s easy to see of the editor is trying to move things along: watch for reminders sent to referee(s) in the audit trail.

  • Thanks for your answer! What kind of editorial action will happen if it passes 6 weeks?
    – New Kolege
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 3:58
  • Beware the second round of reminders to the referees! For my last paper
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 6:52
  • ... Sent there, we asked what was going on after 2 or 3 months. The editor gave up waiting and sent the only report he had received...
    – Adam
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 6:53
  • @NewKolege normally the system will start sending reminders much more regularly after 4 weeks. After a few of those reminders (~10-14 days) the editor has the choice of either go forward with the reports already submitted or (if she/he cannot reach a decision) send to another referee. My experience is that, unless the paper appears marginal to the handling editor, 1 referee report might be enough (especially if the recommendation is to reject). Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 18:40
  • @ZeroTheHero That sounds reasonable. I might get the conclusion of reviews in one or two weeks.
    – New Kolege
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 21:36

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