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I have a paper under its second round of review with some minor revisions only since only one of the referees asked for some clarification. Now it's been like 40 days with the referee. Somewhat unexpectedly long for such a small amount of revision but maybe not yet too abnormal(?). But I do need the result, the earlier the better.

I notice that the submission system just has a button for sending correspondence to editor for each manuscript. I was wondering about the following. If I used it to simply inquire the status would the editor somehow urge the referee a little and what should I say exactly?

Or in other words, I often hear that people contact or inquire the editor about the manuscript status during the review and it sounds like a very common practice. Since the status is basically online I didn't see the point until I came into this and started to wonder if this is the point, i.e., once you inquire there's a good chance that the editor will contact/urge the reviewer. Surely the reviewer can still take his/her time but there's at least a kind reminder sent.

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    One can only assume that you intend, as a journal reviewer, to respond immediately to any and all requests for review from journals. Even during major holiday periods (like much of the past month).
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 24 at 2:20
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    40 days, including the winter break when most universites are closed? Not excessive at all.
    – GEdgar
    Jan 24 at 9:37

2 Answers 2

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Think about it from the point of view of the editor - they often have several manuscripts on hand, and they're also working full-time on another job. So they might not look at your manuscript for a long time.

If you nudge them, then they'll look at your manuscript. They'll wonder if they should, e.g., nudge the reviewer too, or if the revisions are actually minor enough that they can check the revision themselves. A lot will depend on how long the average review times for your field are. If 40 days is a long time (how long did it take for you to get the first decision?) then it's more likely they'll do something.

If you do contact the editor just say something to the tune of "it's been 40 days since I submitted the minor revision, can I check what the status is?".

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  • There's also journals with full-time editors.
    – user151413
    Jan 31 at 8:35
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A period of 40 days with a referee is not excessive, even for minor revisions. You can contact the editor if you wish, but it is not clear to me why your preference for faster progress is their problem. If you can explain some compelling reason for needing your publication fast-tracked (ideally one that is sufficiently unusual that it gives good cause for the journal to treat you differently to other authors) then that would be fine, but otherwise it might just make you look like the squeaky wheel that wants the grease.

If you decide to contact the editor, the main thing you need to do is to give a compelling reason why you need the review process to occur faster than it would usually occur. This will immediately raise the question of whether you should have submitted your paper earlier, and so you should also explain why it wasn't possible to submit earlier. If you have some exogenous deadline you are working to, explain your deadline, and ask if the editor would mind contacting the reviewer to make them aware of it. If you can't give a compelling case on these points then you should be careful with your contact, and consider waiting until a more standard review time has elapsed.

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  • Whether 40 days is excessive for minor revisions might well depend on the field and journal.
    – user151413
    Jan 31 at 8:36

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