It happened the third time to me and I start wondering what is going on? I have submitted two papers since May last year (11 months) and didn't get any answer. I wrote to the editors and they answered to me the following:
One of them said that it was very hard to find a referee for the paper and finally they succeeded to find a person willing to referee the paper.
Yesterday the other editor told me that the two referees where the paper was sent "eventually didn't write a report. We are now trying to get a report from a third referee".
In the last two years I noticed a very long delay in receiving reports for my papers. It also happened to a reasonable journal, JA, to receive a favourable report after some corrections are done. After I sent the corrections back I didn't receive anything back for six months. When I wrote to the editor, he wrote to me that the referee refused to answer emails and then he sent the paper to another referee, starting practically from scratch the reviewing process. The paper was finally rejected after 9 months.
Please help me concerning the following matters. Although I never commented on referee/editor's decisions it seems that something has changed. The community does not want to referee my papers anymore. Once I got a first rejection on the reason that the table of contents is not symmetric.
My question is the following:
Is anything I can do with respect to this matter? What should I write to those editors. I have asked clearly when should I receive report on my paper and didn't get any clear answer.
Finally it is my work and cannot be just deleted as some people/referee like, but these delays somehow have ruined the scores for my ongoing research grant.
Maybe I should add that most of the journals I am talking about are well established journals in the field, some of them being in the top (first quarter) of the AI/ISI ranking etc.