I have submitted a paper to Proc. Am. Math. Soc. My advisor said to submit to this journal. It's been over 3.5 months with no response. I have made several edits to my paper, but none that essentially change the structure of a proof. The original email contained the following message:

Submission of unrequested revisions is discouraged. If SUBSTANTIAL modifications are absolutely necessary after initial submission, the above link can be used to resubmit your article. Please limit the use of this link to one resubmission.

Based on these words I would not resubmit, but I am wondering, since it is taking so long, should I just send in the current version to perhaps get the attention of the reviewer?

  • 5
    Have you tried contacting the editor? Not to discourage you, but I have been on the receiving end of a multi-year revision process (at a single journal)... Mar 14, 2014 at 21:30
  • This will (probably) be my first publication, so I'm not sure of the etiquette here. I don't know the editor personally. Would it be rude to bug her at this point in time?
    – mbsq
    Mar 14, 2014 at 21:43
  • Assume the editor got around to looking at your submission and sending it out to reviewers after a month. Assume further that he asked the reviewers to get back to him within, say, two months. Both assumptions look reasonable. Then he should have the reviews in hand by now, so you should expect an email from him right about... now. I'd say it would be perfectly OK for you to inquire politely (!) about the status of your manuscript. Chances are that reviewers take too long. In any case, I would not resubmit just to get attention. The kind of attention you'd get may not be the kind you want. Mar 14, 2014 at 21:48
  • 14
    3.5 months is not a very long time, at least in my field. Mar 14, 2014 at 21:53
  • 7
    According to the statistics published by the AMS, at ams.org/notices/201310/rnoti-p1390.pdf, the median time from submission to acceptance for PAMS is 5.1 months, so 3.5 months is not that long. Mar 15, 2014 at 12:36

3 Answers 3


This is clearly answered in the comments by @Stephan Kolassa (making community wiki here just to post an answer for the question).

Absolutely do NOT resubmit the paper! If you do, you could end up having everything rejected.

Contact the editors of the journal. 3.5 months is not such a long time for journal review in many fields (unfortunately) but it is sufficient time to warrant a quick friendly email to the editor asking what the progress is.

Though you should not pester the editor, contacting them after 3.5 months seems perfectly reasonable. But keep a friendly/deferential tone. (Don't demand or complain ... just ask for info.)

(And best of luck with the reviews. The first submission is always the most nerve-wrecking. If it works out, then great. If not, try not to sweat it too much. Rejection happens to nearly everyone.)


Please note that mathematics is on the slower side when it comes to the review process. (1) In math there are often only a handful of people who are even remotely qualified to review your paper, so it is tough to find reviewers (2) It takes a very long time in some instances to check the validity of a proof. In some fields perhaps, 3.5 months may be pushing the long end, since in these fields they often only critique big ideas, writing, statistics and experimental design, these things are rather quick to check -- in comparison to a long or highly technical proof. In addition, numerical results are often unchecked in some sciences (especially in fields where you don't submit code with your paper) so even highly technical fields can have pretty quick review turnover. A reviewer in math is going to try and go through your proof in painstaking detail, will try to figure out if there are any counterexamples, even if she believes your proof. I've known several mathematicians to wait over a year before they get a decision on their submission. This is why the arXiv is so important in math; it helps date your discovery, since the review process takes so long.

Inquiring is fine, but be very friendly. Often journals allow you to check the status of the paper. When was this paper sent to the reviewers? If you don't know the answer to this you should try to find out.


I entirely agree with the "do NOT resubmit" advice of badroit. I just wanted to add something which was not addressed and yet seems like the natural thing to do.

Ask your advisor. If he/she told you to submit there, he/she probably has some experience with the journal, either first-hand (as author or reviewer), or through colleagues. This will help you evaluate if 3.5 months really is unusually lenghty for this journal.

I would be surprised if it were. I have no experience with this particular journals, but for other journals in mathematics I have been told that it is unreasonable to expect an answer before 6 months and you can start worrying after one year.

One good reason to enquire about the state of the review process is if you are expecting to send applications soon and a few weeks difference means the world to you. Even in that case though, as badroit very well says: "Don't demand or complain".

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