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I submitted a short (10 page long) manuscript to a math journal. It has been 9 months. Almost 4 months ago I emailed them to see what's going on. Their response was: "Your paper has been sent out to review but we haven't heard back".

What are the options at this point? The journal is one of the best in the field but at the same time I'm concerned thaat I might wait a long time just to receive a rejection letter.

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    That's sounds pretty normal for a math journal. (I'm not saying that's good, I'm just saying that's how it is). You should feel free to inquire again though. – setholopolus Jul 11 '19 at 18:16
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    People sometimes wait for years for a decision from math journals. – Oleg Lobachev Jul 11 '19 at 18:24
  • I would do the same if the journal in question was Annals. – BigM Jul 11 '19 at 18:34
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As others commented already: Nine month is not unusual in math, and this applies to journals of all levels.

However, 9 month is a good time to send a new friendly reminder to the handling editor. From my experience, this seems to be the time when the editors also get impatient and start to press the assigned reviewers harder (or even proceed with one review less).

I would have written the first friendly reminder after six months (four seem a bit early to me) and a second one after nine month.

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    "Nine month is not usual in math": Or is it? – Massimo Ortolano Jul 12 '19 at 5:52
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    Oops! Unfortunately, it is not unusual. – Dirk Jul 12 '19 at 7:18
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    Most math journals would not proceed with one reviewer less, as that would mean zero reviewers. – Tobias Kildetoft Jul 12 '19 at 8:18
  • No, I received between zero and three reports from math journals and also have been told by a math journal that my review is not needed anymore. – Dirk Jul 12 '19 at 8:20
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    Can you not use double negation? You may say "it is usual...". I got confused first time. – Dexter Jul 12 '19 at 9:38

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