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My situation/timeline is this:

  • Submit paper ~ 9 months ago
  • 6 months in peer-review, at which point I sent 2-3 unanswered emails after 4-6 months asking if any update
  • No acknowledgement of those emails, but major revision decision eventually communicated with 4 weeks to do revisions
  • Request (and am approved) for an extension
  • Reach out to editor asking how best to resubmit revised version (since revision option has since expired through the official submission portal)
  • Check-in via email two more times (both the journal chiefeditor@journal.com email, and the personal academic email of the Chief Editor), and have now 4 weeks of waiting with fully revised version ready to submit just to receive advice on how to resubmit

I feel I have done all I can. I have been communicating with the Chief Editor, and the Associate Editor who handled the paper is seemingly anonymous so I cannot contact them.

The journal is a small-ish, but reputable journal in the field. Because of it's size, there is just the one Chief Editor, and there are no official admin staff (Assistant Editor I think it is called?) who I can contact at the journal.

I am at a career stage where first-author publications are so important. These delays suck. I'm trying to be respectful but also look out for myself here, but I actually don't know what else to do.

Do any Editors out there who have any experience of handling such a situation from the journal-side have any advice?

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  • Keep in mind that while publication is a huge issue for you, the editor has loads of these things going on simultaneously. From their point of view you're one noise in a thunderstorm and everyone wants what they want yesterday. Jul 11 at 18:44

2 Answers 2

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You have been sending a lot of emails to the editor. Way too many, IMHO. See this post and also the answers to questions linked there (there are a lot of questions on this site on the question "the status of my paper hasn't changed in the submission system for N months, what should I do?" and the answer is almost universally: wait and let the people involved do their work, sending emails is most likely both annoying and won't speed up anything.)

From those that you listed, the only valid reason to send an email I can see (apart from asking for an extension) is one asking how to resubmit. That's a valid question, but you shouldn't bother the (academic) editor with such an organisational / technical question, you should write to the editorial office (that is what you should be looking for, not assistant editor).

Why might the editor not respond? After so many emails, he or she might very well have gotten used to ignoring your emails.

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    I am very surprised to feel as though I am being blamed in your comment. I would say that if truly, because of a few polite emails over the course of many months, they have indeed decided to ignore me, that is incredibly immature. We do not all the know the unspoken rules of academia - in any other profession this polite checking in would be more than reasonable.
    – sleepy
    Jul 12 at 3:30
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    There are no other email addresses available on the journal page (of an editorial office as you suggested), other than the production team - who responded immediately to say they could not help. Hence the quandary.
    – sleepy
    Jul 12 at 3:35
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    But, thank you for the answer. It is very useful context to know that this is probably perceived as an overboard amount of emailing.
    – sleepy
    Jul 12 at 3:43
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There are a lot of options for reasons of not getting a response: the editor is lazy, sick, overwhelmed, or you have somehow offended them in your communications, or your communications aren't getting through somehow.

As to how to resubmit it if the submission system isn't available, just send it to them directly with a (polite) note.

You can then be patient and wait for things to play out, though I understand your pressures.

Your other option is to withdraw the paper and submit it elsewhere, though that will just start the process over at a different journal, costing time. You don't need an acknowledgement if you choose that route. A note that you intend to withdraw the paper on (some definite future date) if you don't hear from them by then is sufficient.

For a truly reputable journal, patience is probably your best bet, though you need some assurance that your communications are being received.

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  • Interesting, I did not know that potentially sending it directly to them might be an OK option here. Perhaps I will wait a while since I have emailed recently, then send it in if I do not hear back in the next month or so.
    – sleepy
    Jul 12 at 3:41

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