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I submitted a paper to a journal in January. According to the journal web site, the rebuttal period is the present week of February 20 to 24. It's February 20 everywhere in the world and actually February 21 in parts of the world already, but I received no feedback from the referees yet. I checked my email, including the junk folder, it's not there. None of my coauthors mentioned receiving anything either. I logged into the journal's submission system, and again I see no indication of any referee feedback being available -- I've been logging in to the system now and then, and there has been no new information since the day I submitted the paper.

I'm worried my paper has somehow been "forgotten", and unless I take action now, deadlines will be missed and the paper won't be published, assuming of course it would have been accepted. Maybe they'll "remember" to send me the feedback only on the last day of the deadline, and then I'll have to rush the writing of the rebuttal, and be at a disadvantage since others may have had the full week to do it. On the other hand, contacting the editor may (or may not -- which is why I'm asking) break anonymity and irrevocably taint my paper.

How should I proceed? Should I contact the editor? If I do, should I do it from an email which reveals my name/affiliation, or create a throwaway account? Should I mention my paper's ID/title specifically, or just say that I submitted a paper and didn't receive feedback yet?

EDIT: moving some information from the comments to the main question.

The journal in question follows a hybrid journal/conference model, so they have strict deadlines for publication of each volume so they can be presented in the conference later this year (whose date, of course, is already set in stone). The journal/conference website pretty clearly states February 20 to 24 as the rebuttal period.

Also worth mentioning is that, if I contacted the editor directly with my name, they would know exactly which paper I submitted.

UPDATE: referee feedback was just released. Thank you all for your comments.

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  • Is this submitted for potential publication in a special issue?
    – Dawn
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:38
  • @Dawn please see extra information in a comment to Buffy's answer. Feb 20, 2023 at 15:43
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    @athrowawayaccount All relevant information should be in the post, not comments. You can edit to include it.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:53
  • Does this venue advertise double-blind or triple-blind review? The concern with emailing the editor would only be a concern if the review is triple-blind. I
    – Dawn
    Feb 20, 2023 at 16:30

1 Answer 1

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Yes, you need to contact the editor. I think you have likely misinterpreted something about the "rebuttal period". Perhaps they were writing about "typical" schedules for such things, but it is even possible that no reviewers have even been selected yet, making rebuttal impossible.

From January to now isn't very long. If the editors aren't employees of the publisher, but academics, much of January may be vacation weeks, which some people use for vacation. And most of the reviewers are probably academics in any case.

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  • The journal in question follows a hybrid journal/conference model, so they have strict deadlines for publication of each volume so they can be presented in the conference later this year (whose date, of course, is already set in stone). The journal/conference website pretty clearly states February 20 to 24 as the rebuttal period. Feb 20, 2023 at 15:41
  • As for contacting the editor, any comments on my other questions regarding how to avoid breaking anonymity? Feb 20, 2023 at 15:44
  • In my field, there is no expectation of anonymity with the editor, only the referees.
    – Dawn
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:45
  • If they expect rebuttal without feedback they have failed in their basic task. Ask for clarification and for when you might get feedback. Something may have happened that caused a failure of communication.
    – Buffy
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:53
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    Echoing @Dawn, yes, editors know who you are. It is only reviewers who are anonymous and they may know who you are as well except in double blind review. It is usually the reviewers that are anonymous, not the authors.
    – Buffy
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:55

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