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I submitted a manuscript to a moderately ranked journal three days ago, which has both an online submission system (OJS) and an email address for submission (this caused my initial confusion). I made the submission through the online system, assuming it would be the most reliable method. However, I did not receive any acknowledgment of receipt after one day, neither from the automatic system nor the editor, and the manuscript status has remained as "submission" since then.

From my previous experience, this seems unusual. Therefore, I sent an email to the previously mentioned address, inquiring about their preferred submission method and whether I had submitted the manuscript correctly, but I have not received any response. Upon checking the journal's contact list, it appears that the person behind that email address is not the editor-in-chief but rather the secretary, so yesterday I sent another email to the editor with the same inquiry, but I have not received a response either.

I am aware that three days is not considered a long time, and I certainly understand that the review process could take months. However, I would not be as concerned if the journal had simply acknowledged the receipt of my manuscript, which should not have taken too long.

So, what should I do now? This manuscript is extremely important to me, and as this is my last year of PhD, I cannot afford to wait several months to ascertain whether the editorial team is simply unresponsive or if my manuscript has been misplaced. I am considering waiting until the end of next week, and if I do not receive any response from the journal by then, withdrawing the submission. However, I have a few concerns:

  1. Would it be too hasty to withdraw a submission after a week, simply because no acknowledgment of submission has been received?
  2. If I do need to send a withdrawal request, should I wait for the journal's confirmation? And what should I do if they remain unresponsive?
  3. Continuing the last question, if I resubmit the manuscript to another journal, should I mention the previous situation in the cover letter? Would this be an obstacle when the editor of the new journal considers the manuscript?

Edit: By the way, to clarify why I am confused about the submission method, when I click the "Make a Submission" button on the journal's webpage, the option to register/log in to the online submission system (OJS) is provided. However, the journal's guidelines for authors state that submissions should be sent as email attachments to a specific address, without mentioning the online system. It's worth noting that the guidelines appear somewhat outdated, as some of the formatting requirements mentioned are no longer applicable based on the latest articles published by the journal.

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  • Do you know anyone else who has had published with this journal? Can you ask them if they had a similar delay?
    – Dawn
    Mar 15 at 19:11
  • @Dawn That would be great, but unfortunately I do not know anyone who has published in this journal. I chose the journal simply by looking up in the citation index database.
    – JiaHulio
    Mar 15 at 21:15

3 Answers 3

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Given that the time to acceptance is (at least) months, it is far too early to panic. There are too many reasons for a delay and missing the submission through the online system is probably the least likely. If some person is involved in an acknowledgement then even more things can cause a short (week at least) delay.

But, yes, you can withdraw at any time prior to signing an agreement. Far from optimal, but the paper is yours. No, you don't need to wait for an ack to do this. No, you don't need to mention it to the publisher of a later submission.

Don't be hasty, however. Academic time is very weird. Relax. Have a culturally appropriate beverage.

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  • Thank you for your helpful advice! However, I am also wondering if it is possible that the journal may not begin processing submissions until nearing the publication date of a new issue. I noticed that the journal is published annually at the end of every year, although it is separated into four issues.
    – JiaHulio
    Mar 15 at 13:41
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    That is very (very) unlikely. It takes quite a lot of time to review and prepare articles for publication, including rewrites by authors.
    – Buffy
    Mar 15 at 14:31
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How about submitting via the email system, and including a message in the email saying that you submitted via the online system (include that date) but haven't received any confirmation of submission?

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  • Thank you for the advice! It sounds feasible, but the only problem is that I have actually already sent an email to that address for enquiry, but have not received any response... So if the journal remains non-responsive, maybe I won't get any confirmation even if I resubmit the manuscript via email.
    – JiaHulio
    Mar 15 at 18:01
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In my opinion, despite the absence of notifications is concerning, the delay in several days during submission is not yet a reason for panic. Did you check the public calendar of the country, may be there were some holidays? For example, Ramadan started several days ago.

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  • Thank you for the reminder, but I did check the public calender of the country (as well as the academic calender of the editor's institution), and it seems that there were no special events or holidays.
    – JiaHulio
    Mar 15 at 17:34

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