I submitted a paper to a reputable and high IF journal, which is declaring an expedited review and publication process.

Papers are usually published in about 30 days (45 at most, but it is pretty unfrequent).

My paper has been ‘with editor’ for two weeks, meaning that it has not been sent to the reviewers yet. With this timeframe I’m doubting that the process is going to be expedited as declared on the journal website.

If the paper is still with editor in the next one/two weeks, would it be ethical to withdraw it?

It’s not really important that other journals can be slower, the matter is that my paper is being late compared to the journal standards.

I do not believe the editor is considering a bench-rejection as the paper of this project have always been published smoothly and often appraised by the referees. And the paper is clearly not out of scope.

  • 2
    Is this a COVID paper? Otherwise that promise is a little sus Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 18:26
  • 2
    What could be more sensitive than COVID? It normally takes 30 days to get to a reviewer, much less reviewed (reviewed again) and typeset ... I would be worried about the veracity of this journal. Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 19:07
  • I am astonished by a 30 days publication as standard.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 10:17

2 Answers 2


It is ethical to withdraw it until your agreement with them is finalized. But it seems unwise to me and a (very) hasty decision if you do. Two weeks in the publishing industry is just about a nanosecond. There are a lot of reasons for delay.

You won't get the two weeks back if you withdraw and will need to start the process over at another, likely even slower, journal. Why? Calm down. Take several deep breaths.

And you can ask for an update before you make any final decision.

Withdrawing won't make the editors happy with you but the paper is yours.

  • this is a correct answer
    – HEITZ
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 5:46

If you discovered a critical error in your paper, it's ethical to withdraw at any stage of the peer review process.

Otherwise if you are simply choosing to submit your paper elsewhere, it's ethical to do so before the journal commits serious resources to getting your paper reviewed. Since your paper apparently has no reviewers yet, it's fine to withdraw.

That said, you might want to ask them for a status update first.

  • Contacting the editor is what I was thinking of. Not because I am complaining about a two-week wait (I would be fine with that in general), but because this waiting time is long compared to what they declare and to the submission/publication dates printed on their papers. My concern is that they are not finding reviewers (the topic is in the scope of the journal, but still EXTREMELY specialized) and that this could be ground for rejection (or an extremely long publication process). Would it be acceptable to ask the editor if this may be the case?
    – Pu94239
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 2:58
  • @Nuclear sure, you can ask the editor that.
    – Allure
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 3:09

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