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We submitted a paper 26 months ago. Until now, more than two years have passed, but we have not got any information of our manuscript. Several times we wrote emails to the editorial office and current editors-in-chief to ask them of about our manuscript but the status of the paper is still under review.

Yesterday, we sent a letter directly to the editor-in-chief to say that:

We can wait one month more. After this time if we shall not obtain the first reviews then, please, permit us to withdraw our submission from the journal.

The answer we received was:

The better think is what you are proposing...

How should we respond to them in this case?

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    "the better think is what you are proposing, that is withdrawing this version and in case submit new results" -- if you're really quoting from the journal editor's response, it looks like this person has clear communication issues. Anyway, this looks like an awful publisher, find a better venue for your work. – Scientist Jan 14 at 15:44
  • How long is this paper? If it's 150 pages and very dense, and the journal is stringent, then the wait time is not completely unheard of, the issue is that you've got a bad editor – David Roberts Jan 16 at 10:19
  • I believe the editor meant “thing”, not “think”. Then it makes sense. Withdraw the paper. – Gimelist Jan 18 at 16:44
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Actually, you don't need their permission to withdraw the paper until you give them the copyright after final acceptance. The paper is yours to do with as you please.

The answer you got is hard to decipher. It makes me question their competence, as does the long time "in review".

Just tell them that you are withdrawing, though you might want to wait out the month that you offered.

Find a better publisher.

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    until you give them the copyright after final acceptance – Note that for most journals I am familiar with, copyright transfer (or similar) happens before final acceptance. However, it usually also includes a clause that allows either party to void the transfer until final acceptance. – Wrzlprmft Jan 15 at 20:11
  • Find a better publisher is the most important advice here. And maybe, inquire among your colleagues what the best suited journal would be. – penelope Jan 15 at 20:50

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