I don't know whether this is the appropriate place to ask my question but since there is no harm in asking, let me ask. My nephew, who is an undergraduate student, has sent a paper to the journal Notes on Number Theory and Discrete Mathematics about one month ago. Since it has been 1 month, he has tried to know the status of the paper by mailing the required person twice, but due to some unknown reason the person seems silent.

Does anyone know anything about the journal except the information that has been given to its website? What should my nephew do now?

  • 21
    One month is very little time for a journal to review a paper. Your nephew should wait a few more months. Apr 30, 2014 at 8:04
  • Any information about the requested journal? Apr 30, 2014 at 8:27

3 Answers 3

  1. I have never heard of this journal, but from the website it seems legitimate based on its publication history (extending back to 1995) and its institution of origin.

  2. What your nephew should do now is just settle in and wait, and don't bother emailing the editors. As a commenter said, one month is not nearly enough time for a journal to process and review an article. It's usually more like 3-4 months and could possibly go longer than that. And the editors of these journals probably get so many emails from authors requesting status updates that usually those emails are simply ignored -- or if you have a nice editor there'll be an automated reply that says, in so many words, "Please stop emailing me."

The frequent emailing could even backfire. Recently I submitted an article to a journal, with a student co-author, and was told they'd get back with me in 9-12 weeks. Six months passed and I had heard nothing. I emailed the editor and asked to make sure she had everything she needed (= polite way of bugging her for an update). The editor said she would check with the reviewer. One day later I received the review -- a three-line rejection letter that indicated clearly that the reviewer had not even read the article. To me, there is a strong likelihood that the article was rejected directly because the reviewer was annoyed at being bugged. This is clear malpractice, but what are you going to do about it? Welcome to our wonderful academic publishing culture.

So, tell your nephew to move on to his next project and let this simmer on the back burner until the end of the summer.

  • 1
    "This is clear malpractice, but what are you going to do about it?". This should not have been allowed by the editor. Escalate to the editor-in-chief. If that doesn't work, broadcast the specifics of your case as far and as wide and as publicly in your community as possible so that (a) people will be reluctant to submit to that journal and receive the same treatment, (b) the journal will have to issue a formal response and/or think twice next time about treating the authors they rely on so apathetically. (Shrugging your shoulders is not a constructive option.)
    – badroit
    Apr 30, 2014 at 18:03
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    I did contact the editor about it, to ask for more clarification, and got no response. At this point I just don't really care. We've submitted it to another journal and we'll hope for the best. Apr 30, 2014 at 22:12

The fact that your nephew hasn't heard anything yet is a good thing. There are really only two reasons a mathematics journal would get back to you within a month:

  • the paper clearly isn't good enough for the journal (typically a "desk reject" where the editor makes that decision without a full review); or
  • it is a "predatory journal" which doesn't actually do proper peer review (and likely will charge you to publish your article).

So probably this journal is legitimate, and the editor thinks your nephew's paper might be worth publishing, and has sent it out to reviewers. This stage can easily take six months to a year (maybe towards the lower end of that for a journal with "notes" in the name).

I couldn't find a ranking for this journal, and MathSciNet no longer indexes it. Both of these are bad signs in terms of quality, but it looks like a real journal.


It can easily take 6 months for a review to come back. However, a acknoledgement of receipt should be given. Remember to allow enough time to pass between your emails and don't mail too frequent, it normally takes a few months. It could backfire and make you seem rude if you are too pushy. But 1-2 emails asking if the paper is received seems ok, if you don't get that, perhaps give them a call.

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