I submitted my research paper (which I conducted under a collaboration contract between multiple institutes) to a journal with an expected timeline of 48 days from initial submission to publication. However, my paper is still listed as "awaiting reviewer assignment" even though it has been 4 months since the submission. I had assured the partner institution that the research paper would be published within the contract period, and as this period is concluding this month, I am concerned about meeting that commitment.

Due to this unexpectedly prolonged timeline, I am considering retracting my article from the submission. However, I am apprehensive about the potential impact on both my reputation and that of the other authors. Could you please advise me on how to communicate my intention to withdraw the manuscript to the journal's editor, citing these extenuating circumstances?

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    academia.stackexchange.com/questions/88355/… Does this answer your question?
    – Allure
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 5:17
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    If you withdraw you are pretty much guaranteed to not meet your deadline. So, how does withdrawing improve your situation? Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 6:03
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    Have you contacted the editor to enquire what's going on. It could be your manuscript is hanging in administration loop or they're unable to find suitable reviewers. Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 7:41
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    For future reference, I would never enter into a contract where I promised to publish something. All contracts I have ever written involve a promise to SUBMIT a paper.
    – Dawn
    Commented Aug 18, 2023 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


I have had a similar issue recently. I repeatedly contacted the handling editor who did not help much. Actually, the response always came from some staff who would say they were having a difficult time finding reviewers. When they found, the editor would take “forever” to take an action and the thing went on for a year. And this was a open access journal from a big publisher - one would expect a faster turnaround. I contacted the editor in chief and things finally got resolved. Your PI should contact the handling editor or the EIC to try to speed things up.

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