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My paper was accepted to a journal owned by Springer publishing. It took 1.5 years to get to this final stage. After acceptance, Springer waited another 2(!) months to send the paper to proof-reading.

Once it reached proof-reading, I received a message to correct and approve the e-proof they created. I was already on vacation at this point and did not get back to them in time. I received a reminder 2(!) days later, and another 4 reminders since then every 2 days. After each email I replied explaining that I am on vacation and I will deal with it once I am back. Never received a response from them and the threatening "reminder" emails just keep coming from them.

I wonder if you find this bullying behaviour normal? I also wonder how far I can go? Will they at certain point retract the acceptance of the paper? Can they do that? This is just a hypothetical exercise, I am intending to finish the work when I get back, but I am very surprised by this attitude. Am I supposed to whip out my computer on a backpacking trip and finish the editing just because it is finally a priority for them?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Edit with questions:

  1. How long can I wait until my paper is finally rejected?
  2. Are they allowed to reject my paper in such a case? (Please note that this is for an online publication of the paper. It is not for a special issue, which I would understand.)
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    Firstly, this is a rant, not a question. Secondly, what's happening is that a computerized system is sending you automatic reminders. There is no "attitude" or "bullying" here. Jul 28, 2023 at 14:02
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    While it may be inaccurate to refer to this as "bullying", I would agree that such practices of journals to set tight deadlines on short notice, while not reacting to related inquiries in appropriate time, are common and have an aspect of institutionalized rudeness to them. Jul 28, 2023 at 15:00
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    Am I supposed to whip out my computer on a backpacking trip and finish the editing just because it is finally a priority for them? -- As @Adam Přenosil has already said, this is a rant (and likely coming from an automated system), but as rants go this sentence is nicely worded! Jul 28, 2023 at 15:53
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    Your replies to the reminders probably went to the copy-editing/printing/proof-reading folks. Or maybe just to the computer that generates the reminders. I think it would be good to write to the editor who handled your paper; inform him/her about the situation and ask for a time extension that you'd consider reasonable. Jul 29, 2023 at 1:58
  • Thanks I will do that @AndreasBlass
    – Stata_user
    Jul 29, 2023 at 6:28

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It doesn't seem to me like "bullying", but an attempt to meet a deadline for a particular issue. If you don't comply they will have to postpone publication until they find an appropriate slot, assuming a print publication. If the current slot is in a special issue then missing the deadline will have worse consequences, of course. I doubt it would include retraction, but would probably imply delay.

If you can't comply, then you can't, but it isn't bullying. Unfortunate, of course.

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  • I don't think its a print publication. This is only for online publication.
    – Stata_user
    Jul 28, 2023 at 16:20

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