Any tips on polite yet resolute phrasing for an e-mail to the managing editor of a journal when your article is under review for far too long and it would be nice to give the process a nudge?

Thanks in advance; specific advice for math journals appreciated.

  • Can you quantify far too long? Also, what field? – user2768 Jan 8 at 14:19
  • Unlikely for anything to be really effective in making it go faster. It is what it is, though it may vary by field and by journal. Reviewers set their own schedules. – Buffy Jan 8 at 14:20
  • @Buffy: Agree. With what you say in mind, I still would appreciate knowing which phrasing would you recommend for the e-mail to be clear and least irritating for the editor. – guest Jan 8 at 15:14
  • @SolarMike Thanks, it is close. Still, any specific tips on the appropriate wording for the e-mail (polite yet clearly compelling to check on the manuscript and take action rather than giving a boilerplate answer saying nothing but "the review process is ongoing") would be welcome as I seem to have difficulties with wording things in such an e-mail in a polite & non-confrontational manner while still getting the point across. – guest Jan 8 at 15:50
  • Use the answer given to your question. succinct and sufficient. – Solar Mike Jan 8 at 15:52

First, always be polite to the editor. Often academic editors are volunteers. Even if they are not, being polite is always more helpful than being not polite.

Second, journals often have trouble getting enough reviewers. I have emailed journals and asked if they need more reviewer suggestions. This nudges the journal to think about your submission. And, can sometime help them address the delay in review.

  • Fair enough, although I have been told as Associate Editor by an Editor once that reviewers recommended by the authors should be avoided as a matter of principle because they are very often biased. And I can see where this Editor is coming from. In this case advice 2 would be counterproductive. – Lewian Jan 8 at 23:38
  • I see that perspective. I've also used that line when the AE was having trouble finding reviewers and appreciated the extra names. I've seen (from Editors I know) where AE's often chose of the suggested reviewer and a second reviewer from their choice. – Richard Erickson Jan 9 at 0:40

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