Recently it happened to me twice that I had a paper which was under review for more than one year (first round) and that all inquiries about the status of the paper went unanswered by the handling editors. Both cases were reputable mathematics journals but not among the very top journals (not the Annals or similar).

Is it reasonable to withdraw the submitted paper in this situation and to submit it to another journal? What is a reasonable waiting time in such a situation, i.e. very long time under review (more than a year) together with an editor who does not respond at all to inquiries on the status?

  • 4
    If the handling editor does not reply to polite inquiries, I would not call it a reputable journal. I say this based on long experience as an author and more recently as an associate editor of an applied math journal. I've never ignored such inquiries or had mine ignored. Nov 30, 2018 at 12:54
  • @DavidKetcheson I do not want to name them here, but both of these journals are well established journals with a long tradition
    – Christian
    Nov 30, 2018 at 14:10
  • 1
    Just withdraw if you want. It's your manuscript and you are free to change your mind as your circumstances require. The process is mostly automated, everyone will be notified that no further review is needed and thanked for their time. Nov 30, 2018 at 17:51
  • You might be interested: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/120623/…
    – Allure
    Dec 1, 2018 at 5:44

2 Answers 2


There can be multiple reasons for lengthy review process.
1) Your work is very novel and its hard to find a reviewer.
2) You submitted your article to a journal who's scope is not fully relevant to your research area. According to my experience this is one of the major reason.
3) The ignorance of handling editor.
First make your own assessment if your work is very novel or if you have submitted to a journal who's scope is not fully relevant to your research area in both cases you may expect a much longer review process.
if its not the case 1) and 2), then Check the average time of first decision for recently published article, and contact handling editor after passage of average expected time. If Editor don't reply for another extra 25%~30% of average time, then write a withdraw letter and mention the unexpected delay as a reason for withdrawal to EiC.


Withdraw the paper(s) and send to a better journal.

Its is clear from your description "(...)under review for more than one year (first round) and (...) inquiries about the status of the paper went unanswered(...)" that you're not dealing with a reputable journal.

Reassess your evaluation criteria and aim higher.

Good luck!

  • Since this is pure mathematics, I am not particularly surprised about the very long time of the review process but by the fact that we are not receiving any answer to our enquiries.
    – Christian
    Nov 30, 2018 at 16:04
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    @Christian Exactly. If they're not answering inquiries, they're not professional. I am sure there are better venues in your field for your paper(s).
    – Scientist
    Nov 30, 2018 at 16:06

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