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As I already shared in this question, I have submitted a paper in January of the last year to a high-rank journal and the decision was "reject and resubmit". I worked very, very hard and prepared a significantly improved revised version of the manuscript with a near 50 pages response letter to the reviewers.

Unfortunately, the policy at my university is that the advisor must be the corresponding author. Two other students of my advisor--which I don't know personally--submitted a paper to the same journal a short time after the decision of my manuscript. After less than a week, the journal sent a letter to my advisor, which is also the corresponding author of their manuscript, that their paper didn't pass the plagiarism check. By my investigation, I found out that they copy-pasted some parts of their introductory paragraphs from other papers. My advisor sent a letter to EIC telling him that this problem was due to not having a plagiarism checker software. He is the second author in my paper and third author in the other paper and corresponding author for both.

I have now waited a long time for the decision of my manuscript. One of the professors of my university told me yesterday that they may not have sent the paper out to reviewers and might make you wait for a long long time. Then, if you mail them, they will reject your paper. It is a punishment for your advisor. Otherwise, they will make you wait for 12 to 15 months just for punishment and then reject it without review .

It was a nightmare for me as I am under immense pressure for my job and my graduation. I agree that my advisor is an irresponsible and ignorant person. But I didn't do anything wrong. Just very very hard honest work.

Can they delay the decision of a submitted manuscript of someone that already sent a paper which didn't pass the plagiarism check? Is there any such policiy or behavior in journals? What should I do?

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    Wait. You wrote a 50 page response to the reviewers? How long is the paper itself? Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 10:46
  • @It is 14 pages although highly compressed.
    – user85361
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 12:17

2 Answers 2

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I know of no such policy - but editors are humans, too. On the other hand, an editor has to deal iwth hunderts of submissions per year. Plagiarism check is usually done automatically. At least I would not have the mental capabilities for remebering those issues and playing such games. But you never know.

Rejecting a paper without review after a year of letting it sit and then returning it without review would be malpractice and a reason to complain about the editor behaviour.

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    "Rejecting a paper without review" is not malpractice and called "desk rejection". "Rejecting a paper after a year of letting it sit and then returning it without review" is malpractice. Please fix. Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 10:42
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    @CaptainEmacs yes, I fully agree! I tought the context narrowed down the answer but you are right, a clarification helps.
    – OBu
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 10:49
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The people who run good journals are (i) professionals, (ii) people. From the first follows that it's not professional or appropriate to sit on a paper for a year without sending it out to reviewers or making a decision as punishment. That's just not ethical. From the second it follows that the editor is probably not going to bend over backward to ensure the paper gets dealt with today instead of tomorrow. In any case, your characterization of editors as these kinds of vindictive monsters out to get you is incorrect -- that's not the kind of person who would be appointed as an editor.

Either way, there is nothing wrong with writing an email to the editor and asking what the status of a paper is. That happens every day, and it's part of the job of an editor to deal with this in a professional manner. So go ahead.

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