Quick one, I have submitted a paper for review to a springer journal (no need to name shame the specific journal here, but clearly it has a major publisher behind them), after 4 months, there hasn't been any update. I have followed up with the editorial office a few times in that period just to see if there has been any update, other than what I can see on their online portal, but I was just assured that it is with the editor who will shortly make a decision whether to send it for review or not. I have been getting the same response for the last 2–3 months.

As a result, I have asked the journal to take it out of the journal as I have no intention to further consider this journal for my publication, but the email I got back was the same I received previously as well, i.e. the standard email "it is with the editor, a decision will be reached shortly".

You could debate if 4 months is long enough or not to request an update, but that is not what I am interested, I am more surprised that there seemingly is no interest in honouring that request.

Other than emailing the customer service from Springer (which I have done), what other options do I have to request the manuscript to be taken out? I'm not too worried that the journal is going rogue and publish the manuscript without my permission, it is just an annoyance that I can't put the manuscript into a different journal as long as it is under "consideration" in the current journal.

  • 9
    Did you tell the journal you wanted your manuscript "taken out"? If so, use the more standard term "withdraw" instead ("Please withdraw my manuscript").
    – Allure
    Aug 9, 2023 at 9:22
  • 2
    This was my first line in the email to the journal: "It seems you have not understood my previous email, I was very clear that I want to withdraw my manuscript from your journal and I just want to receive a confirmation from you that it has been withdrawn"
    – tom
    Aug 10, 2023 at 7:42

1 Answer 1


Until you have signed the copyright form, the solution is simple. You just inform them that you "withdraw" your submission because of their slowness. Then submit elsewhere.

To quote Springer[1]:

It is best not to choose another journal until at least one of the following happens:

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
  • Your results are time sensitive, the review process is taking much longer than normal for that journal, and the editors cannot speed up the process. In this case, it is important to notify the editors that you are withdrawing your manuscript before you submit it to a different journal.

[1] https://www.springer.com/gp/authors-editors/journal-author/when-to-submit-to-a-different-journal/1424

  • 3
    Yes. The paper is yours. There is nothing to "return". Notice of withdrawal is all that is required.
    – Buffy
    Aug 9, 2023 at 11:44
  • 2
    Two asides: 1) Even if you signed a copyright form, this copyright form may contain that it is void in case of withdrawal of the manuscript before acceptance. 2) To be sure to avoid any accusations of double submission, I would recommend the asker to just mention this situation when submitting to another journal.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Aug 9, 2023 at 15:27
  • Cheers, all good comments. I will then just go ahead and submit elsewhere and inform them that the withdrawal has been requested.
    – tom
    Aug 10, 2023 at 7:44

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