I have recently decided to no longer publish, or at least publish less, with a well respected journal in my field. How do I let the journal know in a meaningful way that the submission process is very painful?

The required Microsoft Word and LaTeX templates are extremely dated and do not match my (or anyones) workflow. The review time (6 months), number of reviewer (3-4), number of rounds of review (3-4), and delay from in press to available online (8 months) are all too much. The lack of communication is extreme. The online system tells you if the manuscript is on your desk or the journals desk and nothing more. Editors do not respond to queries other than to tell you it is being reviewed.

4 Answers 4


You may get the best response by using informal channels. If you know the managing editor of the journal (my field is small enough that I often do), you might send an informal email, or even just express your concern in person. As Ben Norris mentioned, the key is that you communicate in a calm, rational, and deliberative way.

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    Maybe you can approach the editor in an informal way at a conference. Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 22:38

Aside from writing a letter to their editor, I don't think there's much you can do, particularly if the journal is well-respected. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak. Unless you're the leading researcher in the journal's field, your ideological protest, while commendable, won't make the slightest difference to them.

  • Having given this answer, I would be most interested in hearing whether journals are open to feedback from the authors regarding the various processes (submission, review, communication, etc.).
    – eykanal
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 12:33
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    I agree that one complaint isn't likely to accomplish much on its own, but a steady stream of complaints from different people might get noticed. Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 12:36
  • @Anon - True, and good luck getting that critical mass.
    – eykanal
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 12:51
  • @eykanal: it's not like the point would be to raise critical mass for some ethical principal or for common good. Authors hate to have their time wasted, and it is in the self-interest of any editorial board to get information on how much and in which way their peer-review process annoys authors. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 20:47

The best method to send the message that you disagree with one or more of its policies or practices to a journal is to stop publishing in it (regardless of prestige) and to convince as many of your like-minded colleagues to stop publishing in it as you can. Publicizing your intent in a calm, rational, and deliberative way, does not hurt, either. See the ongoing Elsevier Boycott, which has already gained the attention of Elsevier and earned some concessions from the publisher.

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    I think one should to talk to them first (which we did, with Elsevier). If they don't want to change, then you could go this route. Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 7:01

I am answering my own question with an option that hasn't been given yet. If the journal is linked to a society (which it is in this case) with an annual (biannual, etc.) conference, then there may be a special conference session on the journal which the managing editors attend. For the journal in question, the concerns have been raised at the annual meeting for the past few years and there is a growing community of dissatisfied people who are taking stances like mine.

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