I refereed a paper after a skim-through and a careful examination of about (1/3) of it after a couple of weeks, and then sent it back due to expository issues, a few gripes about certain things not being correct, about a dozen notes, and suggestions on what needs cleaning so that I could rigorously go through all the arguments to check everything and give a better assessment of the paper. I gave it a gut feeling of about what level of quality the paper seemed to be, relating it to another paper in the close literature. In the report, I said I would be happy to referee the paper more fully after these preliminary edits are made.

Almost a month has gone by and the editor has not acknowledged my emailing of the referee report to him. Do I wait to see if he acknowledges my report or does this get stuck in the ether without me knowing the result of the paper? Do I email him asking if he received my referee report? Was I wrong in sending it back to the authors so quickly to ask for more clarity? Or should I be taking a back seat to this and only responding when prompted and going along my merry way?

2 Answers 2


My experience has been that a review acknowledgement should come immediately---usually via an automated system, but quite rapidly even when there isn't one. This is sensible: otherwise, how do you know that your review was actually received? You should feel free to query the editor on this matter.

Your assessment of the paper sounds a bit unconventional, but essentially boils down to a recommendation for major revision. It's possible you haven't heard back because the editor doesn't have all the reviews in, and some journals never actually tell you what the final result is.

Do check, however, that the journal is really a reasonable that you want to be associated with... review by informal email with a non-communicative editor would be a very bad sign in my field...


If you send in a review by e-mail, not through an automated system which will most likely spit out an automatic mail in response, common decency would dictate you should get an acknowledgement of receipt. But, this does not mean you receive one in all cases. What seems a good way forward is to simply send an e-mail to the editor (or to whom you sent the review) inquiring whether or not the review arrived safely since you did not hear back. There is no guarantee this will be credited with a response either and then you should probably just drop it and I would also argue the journal/journal editor is not very careful with their correspondence. This does not reflect well on the journal so as already suggested elsewhere, the journal may not be worthwhile any future efforts for reviews or publishing.

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