I submitted my paper to an journal published by Elsevier, but unfortunately, the editor has been unable to find reviewers for the past one year. After six months, we reached out to the associate editor to assist him find reviewers, and he managed to secure one reviewer. However, it has now been 1.1 years, and we have yet to find a second reviewer. Given these circumstances, should I consider withdrawing the paper and submit in a new journal? or Wait for associate editor to find second reviewer? We have been tracking the the paper by Elsevier tracker service. The associate editor search for reviewers only once in a month.

  • 3
    Does this answer your question? The editor cannot find a referee to my paper after one year
    – Sursula
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 8:39
  • Related: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/14446/…
    – Sursula
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 8:40
  • What field are you in? Commented May 31, 2023 at 8:56
  • Unfortunately there is a big problem with finding reviewers at the moment. I'm one of those, a paper that is at the edge of the journal scope, etc. but not bad, having tried many reviewers, but not succeeding. Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 19:56
  • We have withdrawn our paper but editor is not responsive. Don't know how much time we should wait for editor to respond. We need rejection/withdrawal confirmation to submit paper to other journal.
    – PRO88
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


Firstly, I don't believe it's the place of authors to 'find' reviewers. Authors can only recommend/ make suggestions. Finding reviewers and managing their review process are those of the editors (EiC, SE, AE ...).
It might be that in some fields, authors can; that I don't know.

With that said, you indicated that the manuscript has been with the journal for upward of 1.1 years now. That there's no second reviewer as yet.

Though uncommon, there are instances where editors make informed decisions based on one reviewer's comment. I see this as exceptional; it happens in some sub-field though.

You desire

should I consider withdrawing the paper and submit in a new journal?
Wait for associate editor to find second reviewer?

Unfortunately, we're not in a position to decide for you. Your circumstances might be different from others.
If your 'need' include 'using' in some grants application or Tenured or other process, you can weigh your options regarding time.

Can you withdraw and resubmit elsewhere, yes you can. It's your call to make.
Should you wait for a second reviewer sourced and review, it's also your call to make.

You may want to take note though that

  • some editors might be interested/impressed with a manuscript and would truly wants it published. They would go at great length to secure review.
  • some might just be caught in the web of admin or laziness.
  • since you've done it before (as I understand your question), you reach out to the editor with additional list of potential reviewers based on their expertise in the discipline/topic. Ensure you guard against conflicts of interest. #ethics

In-between, I have a manuscript with an ACM journal for almost a year now. The Dep editor keeps making frantic efforts to secure reviewers. I'm still waiting. I'm yet to make a decision like you. Our circumstances differs.
I have another paper that 'sat' with a T&F journal for well over 770 days. After numerous to and fro, I indicated a withdrawal. The editor simply ended the 'drama' with a desk reject! Well, the manuscript is now with a Springer Nature journal; I'm busy with revision, preparing rebuttal.

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