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About six months ago I submitted a paper in one of the very reputed IEEE Transactions. I have observed from different papers published in that journal that the average time for receiving the first review is around 3 months. That is why I politely inquired about the status of the manuscript after around 4 months from the date of submission by sending a mail to the associate editor (AE). The AE promptly replied me about the status and said that two out of three reviews were still being awaited. However, it is now six months and I still do not see any change in the status of the manuscript in the online portal.

So, my question is: is it too soon to send a second mail to the AE asking about the status of the manuscript and can such second mail irritate the AE to the point that it might negatively impact the review process of my manuscript?

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  • What do you expect to learn from the answer? Probably nothing you don't know already. So in that sense sending such a message is a waste of your and the AE's time. There are special circumstances where such a message could be useful, but normally I would not sent such a message, especially not a second one. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:02
  • @Maarten Buis If OP asks is becuase he does not know the answer. If the AE's time have not responded , positively or negatively, then they are rudely wasting OPs time.
    – deags
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 18:28

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I think it should be fine to inquire (politely, of course) at this point. While it may be a minor irritant, it should not affect the outcome of the acceptance decision provided the journal follows ethical practice.

If you have a decision to make about the paper it is important to get the information. If it is just to ease your uncertainty then you could also let it go a bit longer. But there shouldn't really be a downside. Maybe a note would get the editor to prod the reviewers a bit.

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It is not rude to ask. It is rude to not provide an answer, either positive or negative. If they ignore you and just don't answer then they are wasting your time.

Do inquire again politely, asking for a response be it either positive, negative, or a future day to wait for a response/inquire again. Dont let them NOT answer, send a copy not only to the AE but also to their marketing or PR team or the closest equivalent. But do check first if in their site or somewhere there is a policy about answering times, in which case you can mention it.

If they dont answer ask again by social media and openly. You can too ask other authors how long it took them to get an answer so you can reference that too, however at this point you should be already looking for another journal for your paper.

Things are changing and traditional institutions and media are finding out that they don't have all the power anymore. You are not a beggar, you are a contributor and your work and time should be respected at least enough to get an answer.

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