There are a number of other questions about dealing with non-response or the length of the review process and some here about burnout in academia. I'm in the end of getting a paper accepted, but (thankfully) the reviews have been reasonably prompt.

I just sent in a finalized manuscript, which is the fourth version of the paper I've turned in. (Maybe this is normal and I just had unrealistic expectations?) After this I also anticipate receiving a typeset version to review, as well as dealing with any correspondence on the figures or tables from the paper. I'm just feeling quite burned out by the process and wanting it to be through.

What advice do you have for dealing with a long, intensive review process? How do you approach each phase of the process with a healthy mindset?

  • 1
    One trick I use is not wanting it to be through, but wanting it to continue; like a regular meeting with a friend or frenemy. You rely on it to be a regular fixture of your life. And, lo and behold, once the paper is published, you will miss this interaction. It really works. Apr 14, 2021 at 9:56

3 Answers 3


I can suggest two things. The first, and probably most important, is to have other things to occupy your mind and your time while the process goes on. Don't wait for replies on submitted work, but get the next thing into better shape.

The other thing is just to accept that the system is out of your control for all practical purposes. Editors and reviewers (especially) have their own work schedules and you have no control over that. The quality of the reviewers is not something you have any say over. When you do get a reply, respond promptly, of course. And if you find long delays between communications, ask about the status and ask for an estimate for completion of the current stage. But just accept that it is a fact of life, not unlike the weather.


I agree with the excellent advice given by Buffy. One more thing that might be useful is to use the long review as an opportunity to self-reflect and see if you could have done better drafts earlier in the process. Ideally, with experience, we should all be getting better and better at making great first drafts that require very little revision. So ask yourself if ---in hindsight--- your first draft had deficiencies that you should have fixed before initial submission. I know I have got back some submissions where I see the comments and think OOPS!


You can save a lot of work by not doing the work the journal is supposed to do. E.g. in Elsevier journals you don't need to bother with the style guides, the formatting of the references etc., but many authors do stick to the journal guidelines. Elsevier earns lots of money from their subscriptions and they pay that out for their staff for typesetting the articles according to the journal's specifications, so there is absolutely no need for authors to do this work.

  • Except, of course, if the editor returns your submission before even passing it to reviewers for "not following the style guidelines" (happened to me with Elsevier journal)
    – penelope
    Apr 14, 2021 at 11:42
  • @penelope There are usually plenty of other journals you can submit to. They are paid lots of money and your article will help to pay their salaries. Apr 14, 2021 at 13:49
  • Oh, the paper got accepted to the original Elsevier journal where I submitted, they just asked me change my submission to follow the style guidelines before they passed in on to reviewers.
    – penelope
    Apr 14, 2021 at 14:01

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