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A prestigous journal was calling abstracts for a special issue. I was informed by the guest editor that my abstract was accepted with final paper due dates. I completed my submission and have been waiting almost two months. I was wondering if it is common for rejection in situations like my case.

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  • What is your field? Sep 29, 2022 at 2:41
  • Energy and environment is my field.
    – user163145
    Sep 29, 2022 at 2:50
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    I would think that even though an abstract has been accepted, the complete manuscript will still undergo peer review, a process that is often very long. Two months of review time is quite normal.
    – Sursula
    Sep 29, 2022 at 6:23
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    Are you sure that was a prestigious journal? I get special issue invitations from predatory / fake journals almost every day. Always a good idea to check with experienced colleagues before signing any publication agreements.
    – Ian
    Sep 30, 2022 at 4:10
  • Usually the editors send an expected timeline for the process when there is a special issue. Did you see one in the initial call or when you were informed that you made it past the abstract stage?
    – Dawn
    Oct 2, 2022 at 23:58

2 Answers 2

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Acceptance or rejection isn't predicted by the delay. The editors have asked for reviews from trusted reviewers. They will make a decision on individual papers near the time that the production department needs clear instruction. I'd guess that most rejections will come near that time as the editor(s) consider the relative "worth" of each paper to the whole. But the "production deadline" might be a bit fuzzy in some cases.

I'd also assume that if a paper is definitely rejected you will be notified relatively quickly to avoid requests for information becoming too much of the workload.

And, I'd guess that after two months, editors are still collecting reviews, assuming that the production deadline isn't imminent. Things take time because people are busy with other tasks.

But, no one can predict what is in the minds of the editors or what their work process is. Patience is advised.

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I have a hard time believing that a prestigious journal would accept contributions based on an abstract only, but according to your question they did, because they asked for the final version. I think it is more likely that

  1. As Ian said in a comment, the journal is not prestigious, but they used a very similar name as the journal you thought you were interacting with.

OR

  1. They did not ask you for a final version but for a final submission, as Buffy assumes. In this case, they might have a way for you to look at the status of your submission. I have no idea why they were doing a pre-screening of articles based on abstracts, but you should be able to determine this from reading the call for papers. In this case, two months is not a long time. The journal needs to give reviewers enough time and they might not have sufficient reviewers standing by.

OR

  1. The journal is the journal you are thinking about but they were looking for contributions for non-refereed or "lightly refereed" articles, which would not go on your CV among "reviewed journal articles". In this case, they have all they need and this special issue would come out sometimes soon. If you can find the invitation to which you reacted, you can find out what this issue is. However, in my experience, journals are very careful about not mixing refereed and lightly refereed articles without very clear labeling.
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  • Thank you for your answer! I did get the chance to go back to the posting after your advice. The guest editor primarily accepted abstracts and I received an invitation to submit the final paper through the journal's elsevier page. The posting and abstract acceptance letter stated that the abstract acceptance is not an acceptance of the article and that the article would follow the journal's procedures of review and publication. So, I am able to view that my manuscript is with the guest editor and I guess I just need a bit more patience! Thanks again!
    – user163145
    Oct 27, 2022 at 3:16

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