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I have submitted a math paper to an Elsevier journal around 2.5 months ago, it is now under review (reviewer invited) for around 2 weeks. I understand that this is a relatively short time for a math paper. However, I am post-doc now and with huge amount of luck I found my ideal job in a national lab, its a junior scientist position and they promised me that if I have a first/single author paper then I will get this position, the window of opportunity will be closed by the end of this summer.

IS it appropriate to communicate this to the editor? and will this be helpful for speeding up the process?

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    Variants of this question has been asked before, e.g. How to ask politely the editor to urge the reviewers to finish the reviews in the best short time But even with a speedy review, your timeline seems quite tight.
    – Anyon
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 23:07
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    Can you offer a draft for them to read in lieu of actual publication? Maybe being published is a bureaucratic checkbox they need to be able to tick off, but maybe having what they can consider publishable work would be sufficient even if actual publication is delayed or rejected for whatever reason.
    – chepner
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 20:28

5 Answers 5

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There's nothing wrong in asking. A typical request would be written like this:

Subject: Request for Expedited Review of Submitted Manuscript - [Manuscript Title]

Dear [Editor's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to kindly request your assistance regarding the review process of my manuscript titled "[Manuscript Title]," which was submitted to [Journal Name] approximately 2.5 months ago.

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to the reviewers and the editorial team for their time and effort in evaluating my work. I understand the importance of a thorough review process, and I appreciate their commitment to ensuring the quality of publications in [Journal Name].

However, I find myself in a unique situation where an exciting career opportunity has presented itself to me. I have been offered a junior scientist position at a national laboratory, which aligns perfectly with my research interests and long-term goals. The condition for securing this position is to have a first/single author publication, and the deadline for this opportunity is rapidly approaching at the end of this summer.

Given the time-sensitive nature of this career opportunity, I would be immensely grateful if it would be possible to expedite the review process for my manuscript. I understand that this is an exceptional request, and I assure you that I value the integrity and rigor of the peer review process. However, I believe that a faster review turnaround would provide me with the chance to fulfill the publication requirement and secure the aforementioned position, allowing me to contribute significantly to the scientific community.

If it is feasible, I kindly request your support in expediting the review process or providing any guidance that may facilitate an earlier decision on my manuscript. I am open to any suggestions or alternative solutions that would allow for a timely evaluation without compromising the quality of the review.

Please feel free to contact me if any additional information is required or if there are any updates regarding my request. I sincerely appreciate your understanding and consideration in this matter, and I remain committed to working closely with the editorial team to ensure the integrity and excellence of the publication process.

Thank you very much for your attention and assistance. I eagerly await your response and look forward to the outcome of the review process.

Kind regards,

[Your Name] [Your Affiliation] [Your Contact Information]

Since it's long, it'd help to highlight the important sentences with a yellow highlight or bold letters.

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    Reasonable letter, and I appreciate the importance of being appropriately polite/deferential, but I would say that the solution to "it's too long" is not "highlight or bold the important stuff" but "try to cut it down to two short paragraphs" ...
    – Ben Bolker
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 20:26
  • I agree that a short-and-sweet email is better, but in academic circles, I've noticed that the extra context and consideration added by this kind of an email does have value of its own.
    – Nav
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 7:41
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    Thanks for the letter, I used a similar but shorter email and contacted the editor, if anything good happens will post here…
    – The N
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 16:06
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My gut says this would not be inappropriate but it might not be effective. Everyone wants their papers published quickly. I can't imagine your situation is unique.

I suppose that if your potential job hinges on this paper being published in the next 2 months you could ask nicely to see if they can speed up the administrative portions of the publication/review. But even if you got a sympathetic editor (and one that had the time and authority to fast-track your paper), they can't control reviewers or whether or not you need to make revisions. So you would see limited benefits in the best case.

I think your best bet is to contact your potential employer and let them know that you have this paper under review. Maybe they will accept that in lieu of the final publication.

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You can, and a sympathetic editor can probably speed things up a little. They could, e.g., invite more reviewers to start, pass your message to the reviewers and see if they can speed up the review, or simply send some reminders. But there will come a point where they cannot speed up the process any further - for example if a reviewer says they're on holiday for the next two weeks, and it's not plausible that a new reviewer will be able to review the manuscript within the next two weeks, then the only thing they can do is wait.

Which doesn't mean you can't ask. If it's really important to you, you might as well ask - the downside is minimal, if there's any downside at all.

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Yes, you can ask, but it might not have any effect. It is unlikely to slow the process, but the reviewer has their own time constraints.

But the editor might be able to get you a decision some days or so earlier than otherwise. Asking is fine, but it won't affect the final decision, I expect.

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I'm afraid it is almost certainly already too late. If reviewers have been found, they will probably have been given a three-month deadline, which is too late for your purposes, and the editor is not going to try to hurry them before that deadline. If not, then perhaps the editor can put more effort into finding them quickly, and suggest a slightly shorter deadline, but even this is likely to be too slow for you. (It could even backfire, if it makes finding reviewers harder.)

And a key point is: all this is only about the first decision, which is almost always "revisions required" (at best). Even if you could get to this point before the end of the summer, it is not clear that that would be any good.

If you had known this when initially submitting, it may have helped, as it seems there was an unnecessary delay in finding reviewers. But you would still have been asking for an extremely fast decision, so I very much doubt it would have happened in time even then.

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