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I received a minor revision from a good (in my opinion) mathematics journal. I submitted the revised version. Since then, it has been more than 2 months, but we have yet to get a decision. Maybe the referee is taking his time. Let me tell you that the first round of review was 16 months long, and my article is in pure mathematics.

I am a Ph.D. student and am expecting a quick decision. The report of the first round of review was positive, so I can expect a positive decision, though anything can happen. I am worried about the long review process. Maybe Refree is a very busy mathematician.

How long does it take to give a decision for a minor revision in mathematics?

Should I give a reminder to the editor?

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    Some academics take the summer off (in the northern hemisphere). Perhaps they will get around to their referee assignments in the fall.
    – GEdgar
    Aug 13, 2023 at 6:22
  • @GEdgar, i understand but it might take long time then
    – learner
    Aug 13, 2023 at 6:39

3 Answers 3

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One thing that is important is to ensure the reviewer/referee(s) comments are addressed sufficiently in the submitted revised copy. I've seen manuscripts going from minor back to major revision or being rejected.

How long does it take to give a decision for a minor revision in mathematics?
Should I give a reminder to the editor?

Regarding your concerns, a reminder to the editor after 2 months might be reasonable. However, this is subjective as the review process varies from journal to journal, from field to field and circumstances (administrative and others).
As you've indicated, it could even be that the reviewer is busy.
PS: For me, I try to review minor revisions as quickly as I can, but at times I don't manage to and they pile up.

One more thing. Some journals share metrics of

  • date manuscript was submitted
  • indication of how long the review took: some even split info for 1st, 2nd, (3rd) reviews dateline/review period
  • when the last revision was received, and
  • how fast the publishing took (typically for online first (articles-in-press)

Some only share summary of when received, accepted and published like in this one.

If the (review) timeline are published, you can get a sense of how well yours is doing: too long, normal or pointer to abnormal!


I know you said it's a mathematics journal and from the time of your question, it's a reviewer (referee) and not two reviewers, it might still be worthwhile, for others sake, to refer to the typical workflow of a journal: What does the typical workflow of a journal look like? How should I interpret a particular submission status?

This might be worth noting: How to check how fast the review and publication process in a journal

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I have been in a similar situation. I think it is not worth sending a reminder email until at least three months have passed, and perhaps more than that. The reasons for this are as follows:

  • If you email the editor, they won't do anything unless the review is already late. In fact, they probably won't remind the reviewer unless it is significantly late - if an automated reminder has recently gone out, then they need to wait a bit before deciding that it hasn't worked.
  • Editorial management systems automatically give a deadline for review, which is often (IMO) unreasonably long for minor revisions. (I have often felt this when receiving review requests, not just as an author!) Typical deadlines in pure math are 2 months for revisions (3 months for the initial review, although less for a "note").
  • The reviewer may take a while to accept the invitation - perhaps they are on holiday or just very busy. Editors are usually willing to wait longer for an acceptance in the case of revisions, because it is so much better to get the same reviewer(s) if at all possible. On the flip side, the original reviewer may decline, in which case it takes time to find someone else.

However, if you send an email after waiting long enough for the review to be clearly overdue, it can work well. In my case the system status showed a reviewer took a few weeks to accept the invitation, and then I waited for three months after that. I emailed, the editor sent a reminder, and the review then came back very quickly.

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    Thank you for sharing your experience. It has been now 3 months since I sent for revision. Still no news. The 1s rund review was also long 16 months. And now the revision is already 3 months. I have given reminder to editor, let me see what happens at the end.
    – learner
    Sep 10, 2023 at 0:59
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There is no guarantee on the time for a (first, second or any numbered) referee report even for a particular mathematical journal, let alone for a mathematics paper in general. Qualified academics tend to be very busy, sometimes in erratic ways.

[Perhaps I shouldn't admit this, but after reading this question I remembered that I got a reminder for a late referee report. This is a paper that I agreed to referee at the beginning of the summer, and apparently I agreed to turn in the report less than three months later. Now it is a little more than three months later, and I am shaking my head at the optimism of my summer self. I will get it done within the next month or so...and still be reasonably confident that I am not doing such a bad job.]

Let me ask you this: are you on the job market? If so, it would be immensely helpful for you to get a result as soon as possible. I think it would be quite reasonable to write -- or have someone write on your behalf -- to the editor explaining the situation and how beneficial it would be to have a prompt result. I would expect them to be sympathetic to this. If not, the matter seems much less time-sensitive to me, and I would give them a couple more months at least before inquiring about it.

Every year I think the refereeing system is a bit more broken. It runs on mutual good will, which exists...but is far from uniformly distributed. That is not very fair.

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  • Thank you very much for all your beautiful words. Yes, I will search for job/Post-doctoral as soon as I submit my thesis. So a article is very important. I have prepared my thesis, and now I am waiting for the final report of the paper eagerly. I have written to the editor a week ago and the editor promised to check with the referees soon. Lets us be hopeful.
    – learner
    Sep 9, 2023 at 6:29

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