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We submitted an original article in January this year to a Hindawi journal. In March, we received the request for major revisions. All points were easy to address. The reviewer asked for some additional data and some minor clarifications. We sent in the revised version about 5 days later. There was just one reviewer and we were convinced that there would be a fast decision. Notably, the journal has not published a single article after March 18. We inquired about the status and received a copy and paste "it is under review" reply. Per sé this is not uncommon but I know of a co-worker of mine who had a similar experience. He has a manuscript "under review" in the same journal where minor revisions were requested in early February. Still he is waiting for a reply.

What could we do if the journal becomes "inactive"? Contact the academic editor directly? One might argue that two months is not a long period but for minor revisions (e.g. some minor language corrections) it seems odd.

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    Make sure that the journal is not on the list of Hindawi journals delisted from Web of Science retractionwatch.com/2023/03/21/… Also, you may want to read the story of massive retraction of Hindawi papers retractionwatch.com/2022/09/28/… This may help you decide if you really want to continue with that journal May 16, 2023 at 13:02
  • How often does that journal normally publish? No new articles in 2 months doesn't seem especially worrisome in general.
    – Kimball
    Jun 15, 2023 at 16:50

2 Answers 2

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There are all sorts of reasons why journals do not react quickly, and you can find them as answers to similar questions. The advice is simply to wait a reasonable amount of time. In Europe and the US, we are approaching or already at the end of the semester, so editors and reviewers might be busy. In India, we are in a break, so editors and reviewers might be busy relaxing or doing their own research. If you have not heard anything for about three-four months, you can nudge the editor.

If the journal would stop its activity, they will still clear the publishing queue in order to not upset authors, reviewers, and readers. There has been an explosion in the number of journals, so your fear of a journal becoming inactive are exaggerated.

It happened twice to me that an article was forgotten, once because the editor in chief had died. So, this is not a frequent occurrence in my experience.

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Is the journal actually inactive?

If yes, then the answer is clear, you withdraw your paper and submit it elsewhere. Since the journal is inactive, you probably won't get a response to your "withdraw" message, but you could still say something like "if we don't hear from you in 2 weeks' time we will assume the manuscript is successfully withdrawn", and then submit it somewhere else.

But in your case it sounds like you are unsure if the journal is inactive, with good reason, since it's only been a few months since you got the minor revision decision. There's no way to tell from the outside what is causing the hold-up. It's highly probable the editorial board member assigned to your manuscript is responsible, but it's not possible to tell why. Some possibilities are:

  1. They are travelling or attending conferences.
  2. They are ill.
  3. They are busy with a grant application or because it's the end of the semester and they're grading exams or someone's PhD thesis etc.
  4. They were unable to handle your manuscript at once (because of #1-#3 above or similar reasons), and then forgot about your manuscript.

From the publisher's point of view, the solution to this is obvious, you need full-time journal staff. From the author's point of view it's a different matter. You can only chase the journal, and hope the journal staff is motivated enough / has enough free time to ask the editorial board member what's happening and when they can make a decision.

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