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I submitted a manuscript to an Elsevier journal on 8 days ago. However, the "Current Status" of the manuscript is still "Submitted to Journal".

Is it common that the status "Submitted to Journal" lasts over a week?

When I click "Send E-mail" in the "Action Links", it shows that "This letter should not be used at this time. This submission is not in a status that would allow this letter to be sent to the intended recipient."

I cannot even withdraw this manuscript now because the Action Links do not contain "Withdraw" button. I submitted several manuscripts to this journal about three years ago. I checked the email at those moments. When I approved the submission of PDF files built by the submission system, I would receive a confirmation email from the editorial office. However, this time I did not receive any such email.

What should I do at this moment?

  • Wait, it can take weeks. – Zenon Nov 7 at 9:23
  • @Zenon Thank you. But may I ask why it lasts so long? – Hebe Nov 7 at 9:29
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    I can take months, even years. Any given editor uses the editorial manager as the editor sees fit. In some cases the status does not change from "submitted" until a decision has been made on the article. – Dan Fox Nov 7 at 9:58
  • @DanFox I understand what you mean. I cannot even withdraw this manuscript now because the Action Links do not contain "Withdraw" button. I submitted several manuscripts to this journal about three years ago. I checked the email at those moments. When I approved the submission of PDF files built by the submission system, I would receive a confirmation email from the editorial office. However, this time I did not receive any such email. – Hebe Nov 7 at 10:52
  • @scaaahu That is fine. Thanks. – Hebe Nov 7 at 12:40
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8 days is nothing in academic time. Like the blink of an eye. It is not uncommon for reviews to take months. Just be patient. I know it's hard, but just move on to your next project. If there's no movement in a month or two, then maybe e-mail the editor and ask for a status.

  • Thank you for your answer. I know that it takes months to review a paper. However, it seems that my paper has not been sent to the editor yet. – Hebe Nov 7 at 14:04
  • @Hebe: I would guess that it has been sent to the editor, but that the editor has to take some action to acknowledge and has not yet done so. – Nate Eldredge Nov 7 at 14:08
  • @NateEldredge Hence, it is possible that my paper is already under review by the referees, but the status in the system never changes until the decision is made, right? – Hebe Nov 7 at 14:14
  • It's possible. What I'm saying is that it could be that the editor has already done something with the paper (anywhere from "initial skim" to "considered some possible referees" to "actually sent it out"), but hasn't clicked the corresponding buttons in the editorial manager software to acknowledge having done so. For this reason, I think it's always misleading to assume that the status in an editorial manager actually reflects what's going on. – Nate Eldredge Nov 7 at 14:23
  • @NateEldredge I see. Thanks for your explanation. – Hebe Nov 7 at 14:26
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Have patience -- you're asking that many things happen within a short amount of time. Your paper needs to get through an initial administrative check whether the formatting is correct and/or whether there is any plagiarism. Then the editor-in-chief needs to assign the paper to an associate editor. And then the associate editor needs to assign reviewers. Only then does, in most system, the status change to "Under review".

So it requires three people. Any one of them might be on vacation for the week. Or they have a paper or proposal deadline themselves. Or they have a family emergency. Or they need to grade a term paper. You can't expect that they stop everything they do and turn to handling your paper. They'll get to it in due time -- I'd say you can start to get upset if it's been 3 weeks, but before that my recommendation is as stated at the top: Have patience.

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