I am currently submitting an article to a prestigious journal. However, after about four months, the article still has yet to be assigned to an editor. We contacted the journal two months ago, to which they replied that they were experiencing difficulties in finding an appropriate editor. We suggested some editors, but we haven't heard from the journal since then.

I have asked the corresponding author to send another follow-up email to the journal, but I haven't heard from my corresponding author since then. As a co-author, is it wise for me to contact the journal myself in this case?

  • 3
    Can you please clarify: Is this one of those journals that have a huge editorial board because they call "editor" what usually is called "reviewer"? All communication with the journal should go through the corresponding author.
    – user9482
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 6:19
  • No, the editor is the one handling the manuscript and not the reviewer. I am well aware that generally all correspondences should be sent to and delivered from the corresponding author, but in this case the corresponding author is also partly unresponsive, so I'm quite stuck with the restrictions of the roles of a co-author. Are there any exceptions for cases like this? I am also concerned whether such an approach will lead to miscommunications between me, the corresponding author, as well as the journal.
    – amedico
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 10:16
  • 2
    If a journal tells me they can't find an appropriate editor within two months, I would withdraw immediately because clearly I have submitted to the wrong journal. I would also never submit to that journal again because they should have rejected the manuscript in a timely manner. I consider two weeks a long time to assign an editor. However, I hear that in maths the process takes much longer; if that's your field, I can't comment.
    – user9482
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 10:30
  • 2
    However, you can't act without agreement of all authors. You should solve your communication issue with the corresponding author before you proceed.
    – user9482
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 10:34

3 Answers 3


I suggest that you don't do this, and work it out somehow with your co-author(s). You will be complicating the process if the "corresponding" author isn't somehow in charge of correspondence. I doubt that the editor would appreciate it.

One way to proceed is to write a note to the corresponding author (CO) suggesting the wording you would use in a note were you the CO. They might just sign their name and send it on. If you make it easy for them it is more likely to happen unless they have some valid reason for not contacting the editor.

And, yes, some papers have a hard time finding appropriate reviewers. The more esoteric your paper, the more likely it is. And it might even be a really great and innovative paper that is the one for which few are qualified to review.


It depends; sometimes, the corresponding author doesn't pay attention in checking the status then you can write an email to editors, just inform co-author you also talked to the editor to check the status.

  • Thank you for your insights, do you refer the co-author here as the corresponding author?
    – amedico
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 10:17
  • yes, I updated the text; thanks for pointing
    – Alex Kujur
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 10:18

No. Although the situation where you haven't heard from the corresponding author in over two weeks after emailing them and have no other means of contacting them would be wild.

If it is much more recent than that - and I take it you're not that close with the corresponding author - I would suggest observing summer vacations and people having those. But either way, try to get information from the corresponding author first. In extreme cases, emailing someone from their chair trying to clarify the situation might be a good idea. Talking to the journal separately, with dissent between authors, is no-no.

Assigning an editor also sounds weird but well, it might be the summer again playing into that.

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