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As described in the title, imagine a scenario where one has multiple prepared manuscripts for submission. Due to external factors (slow review speed, unavailability of reviewers, technical issues, ...) a decision is delayed on the first submission. The same happens to the second submission which is rejected in the course of the review. Nonetheless, one manages to finish two other manuscripts. In this situation, one ends up with 4 manuscripts submitted and under review at the same time.

How can one avoid such situations? What if one receives multiple review decisions within a short time frame? Intentionally delaying publication does not seem a suitable solution to me.

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    Why do you (apparently) think having multiple manuscripts 'under review' is a bad thing? What is the problem you are actually trying to avoid?
    – avid
    May 31, 2023 at 18:37
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    @ avid Thank you for your question. Scenarios like "multiple reviews coming back at the same time - overwhelming an author" or "unpredictability of review report timing which does not allow for proper timing of vacation". In general, scenarios where the submissions control you rather than you control the submission.
    – Dr.M
    May 31, 2023 at 18:49
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    This answer to a related question is worth considering.
    – Anyon
    May 31, 2023 at 18:54
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    @Dr.M You know you can ask for more time to complete revisions, right?
    – avid
    May 31, 2023 at 18:54
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    @avid - in a fast moving field, not having previous papers published to refer to may well slow things down some.
    – Jon Custer
    May 31, 2023 at 19:31

2 Answers 2

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Your title question is: How to avoid an accumulation of manuscripts "under review"?

My first response is: "What's the problem?" You're being productive. I think I have 4 manuscripts under review. Depending upon your field, this happens more than you think.

To answer your questions in the body of your post:

How can one avoid such situations?

Depending upon how long reviews take in your field, this may or may not be a problem.

What if one receives multiple review decisions within a short time frame?

Address them as they come in. Most journals in my field give ~30 days for minor revisions and 60 to 90+ for major. So, triage your revisions.

Also, I have asked for extensions and never had any journal say no. Usually, the time for revisions corresponds to the amount of work.

Intentionally delaying publication does not seem a suitable solution to me.

I agree.

One last tip: Write well written papers so you do not get a lot of minor revisions and the reviewers will also have fewer points of confusion.

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    Indeed, sweat blood over writing a clear and concise paper. Relax when the straight 'Accept' comes back.
    – Jon Custer
    May 31, 2023 at 19:17
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    That's the correct answer. Address reviews when they come in, and if you really are in the situation that three come back in the same time then ask for an extension for one or two of them.
    – xLeitix
    Jun 1, 2023 at 7:52
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    This answer seems to somewhat normalize the Stockholm syndrome associated with the pathology of review periods. Jun 1, 2023 at 18:33
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That's how this life works. I have multiple manuscripts I'm working on, many of which will all simultaneously be out for review. And so what? Nothing wrong with it at all, if being a researcher is what you do. As others have said, just means you've been productive

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