I submitted my paper seven months ago and it is still under review. I sent several emails to the handling editor but I didn't get any response except every time I sent an email the status date was changed. So I decided to withdraw my paper from journal and I have written a letter to the editor-in-chief but he didn't reply except the status date was changed again! What should I do now?


2 Answers 2


One possibility to put this to an end would be to submit to another journal by an e-mail where you would explain the situation (the paper has been submitted elsewhere, you withdrew it when you realized it was not handled properly, and you got no acknowledgment of this withdrawal), and with a CC to the editor-in-chief of the first journal. That way, the editors of the new journal would know for certain that you withdrew before submitting again, and you would be covered from possible accusations by the first journal. However this corners the first journal in a difficult situation, so it might make them react violently; I would warn them before hand, and only use this as a last recourse.

You can also try to get advice and help from a senior in your field, who will know the editors and might help smooth things out.

A third possibility would be to contact a relevant committee in an academic society (EMS has an ethics committee that could be contacted about a publication in a math journal for example).

  • I should add we resubmitted the paper to the journal. the first time the process of reviewing the paper was less than 2 months and then editor advised us to revise our paper according the reviewers comment and then submit to the journal. we did all that staff but after more than 7 months we have not got any response.
    – sarah
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 11:35
  • 1
    If you have resubmitted after review, then the paper is going back to the original reviewers. I would hesitate to submit it elsewhere. Have you checked your spam folder for possible replies? Have you called the editor-in-chief at his or her institution during posted office hours? I would still contact Elsevier, documenting all attempts to contact the editor-in-chief. They need to put pressure on the editor-in-chief, or install a new one. Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 21:33
  • Debora, I have checked my spam folder too. Indeed they replied me only by changing the status date. No I haven' called the editor- in -chief yet. yesterday I sent an email to the Editorial office in which I explained all stuffs. As you know , many of Elsevier journals have an option as a "send e-mail". So I used this option to contact with editors as a result I don't have any sent email!
    – sarah
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 4:52
  • Among your three possibilities, I think the second may work to me ! As I said, I've resubmitted the paper and so I know the first handling editor who advised me to resubmit the paper. But I was wondering whether it is good to contact him. Since I am pretty sure the current handling editor is not him!
    – sarah
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 5:04

The handling editor is the wrong person to chase about this - if they want to withdraw your paper they can, of course, but if they are inactive (which would also explain why your paper is not getting reviewed) then chasing them doesn't do anything. Nobody else will notice, either. The best person to ask is the editorial office. The editorial office 1) works full time 2) sees all activity by all editors, thereby knowing who is active and who is not and 3) knows who to redirect your query to.

If the editorial office is inactive too I'd suggest writing something like "If I don't hear from you by X date, I will assume my paper is withdrawn". Then if X date comes and goes, you can just submit the paper somewhere else.

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