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Is it okay to contact authors (in the same research area) who published in a journal to which I submitted lately, in order to get information about the peer-review process, or will this be considered unprofessional and one preferably should ask the editor in chief/ associate editor personally?

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  • What information do you need about the peer review process that isn't available to you already e.g. in the instructions for authors?
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 11 at 16:44

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I would only do this if I had an existing relationship with them, even just having met them at a conference. Otherwise it is a bit strange. The editor can probably help you understand things. There is also a canonical question here about journal process that you might find helpful:

What does the typical workflow of a journal look like? How should I interpret a particular submission status?

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This is a topic one often discusses at coffee meetings with colleagues at conferences, so it's a fair question to ask others. I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to ask it of colleagues. Of course, if I got an email from someone I've never heard of about this, I'd probably think that is an odd request.

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What's your motive in asking specific paper authors rather than the editor of the journal in question ?

Surely the editor will have all the answers. The authors only usually have a recollection of what they did themselves: this may or may not transfer to your submission. And going to a journal editor in the first place is a very common-sense thing to do for newbee paper submitters.

Asking personally known colleagues about the publishing routine is fine.

Cold-calling unknown authors in your own field is a bad idea. Most will refer you to the journal editor's guidelines, which you should already know. They will find distasteful the idea that someone else may seek an easier passage to publication - and on the back of their hard-earned experience. You would be diminishing your professional standing in the eyes of any stranger you approach on this matter.

Don't do it.

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