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About a year ago a paper, that me and my coauthors prepared and presented at a conference, has been selected to be published in a revised and extended form in a special issue of a reputable journal. For submissions they use EasyChair, which only gives automatic confirmation e-mails, when you upload. So there is no way to get info on current status of the submission, other then asking an executive editor via e-mail. But they didn't bother with any confirmations or status updates, unless specifically asked.

The only stated deadline was for initial submission. The upload of a revised version didn't have a deadline. And I couldn't find any timelines at the journal site. The first round of reviews, from our initial submission to submitting a revised version, took only 5 months. Then, after a month of not receiving any updates regarding the last upload, I have sent a request about the status of our submission, after which we have received an acceptance letter, which simply states that the paper is accepted and will be published in a future issue. The e-mail didn't contain any further instructions. It was 6 months ago and there were no further updates from the journal.

I would expect the next steps to be communications about the camera-ready version and copyright forms, both initiated by the editors. So it seems that now there is no point in asking them further about the status of our submission. But as time goes by I get doubtful about the prospects of our paper being actually published. I should probably note that their EasyChair still shows an option to submit to that special issue.

I've probably made a mistake by not answering to the acceptance e-mail then, but because of previous communications with the executive editor I've got a feeling that a person is quite busy and doesn't welcome unnecessary communications. So the question is whether it is acceptable to bother the executive editor with further questions about the paper's status at this point and if so, how should I word it?

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Just ask for an update and an estimate of when it might appear. There isn't any special form for that. But "future issue" is pretty nebulous. For a print journal there are issues of finding a proper "fit" for the paper depending on the topic and even the page length.

And yes, you should answer emails. You've been assuming what they should do without verification. Ask. They are unlikely to send you anything if you don't. Just be polite.

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