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I submitted a paper to a journal about two months ago and now the article has been under review for a month. It is my first article out for publication ever, so I am not the best at judging my chances of being accepted. However, I presented the paper on a conference and they offer the chance of entering it as a book chapter in a publication resulting from the conference. I now wonder if it would be ok to ask the editor of the journal if they can tell me some more on my chances of being accepted. Maybe they already got one review back and they can tell me what the verdict was there? Is this appropriate, and if so, should I explain truthfully why I ask this question to the editor?

PS: I would prefer the publication in the journal rather than the book chapter, but if I go for that option and it's not accepted I also can't be in the book because they need an answer now.

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    Some fields value book chapters and some fields do not. Talking to you adviser or mentor should be a good start. My recommendation is to ask the book publisher to wait and let them go if they decide to: if the paper is good enough, it will be accepted; if the paper is not good enough and then rejected, do you really want that to be in a book circulating outside? Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 14:53
  • not directly answering your question, but still: you can always find another outlet for your publication that is at least as highly regarded in the social sciences as a book chapter (unless maybe we are talking about a peer-reviewed book, which is rare). i wouldn't lose my nerves over this. book chapters in edited collections count very little in the social sciences and nobody reads them. Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 16:03
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    @Penguin_Knight: "do you really want that to be in a book circulating outside?" - if the journal rejection happens because of possible different expectations of novelty by the journal, the paper might still be well-written and correct in itself and might still serve as a valuable resource to readers of the book. So, the answer to that question may not be as obvious as it at first seems. Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 18:45

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I doubt that you will be able to get any answer about the likelihood of acceptance from a good editor until all of the reviews are in. As a editor, there are just too many ways that the last review might majorly change the view of a paper (e.g., negatively by pointing out that it is a cleverly disguised piece of plagiarism; positively by pointing out a value that all of the other reviewers have missed). An editor who is acting professionally will thus never pre-judge the result before it is in hand.

You can always feel free to reach out and ask how long it's likely to be before you get an answer, but that's not something that can readily be relied upon either, given the frequent vagaries of reviewers.

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You can always contact an editor to ask about your manuscript. The time frame you mention seems to me to be just about the time required to get something through review but the editor will also have to collate reviews and provide recommendations. Since what is reasonable varies between fields and journals within fields, you need to figure out what is normal and by how much the time frame can vary.

In your case, you mention a book but it is not clear to me if the book has a deadline (but I will assume it does). Making a decision to take a manuscript from a journal while under review means withdrawing it. This is not necessarily a popular action because both editors and reviewers have taken time and effort with your manuscript. You are of course still entitled to do so. So since you have the manuscript in review, I do not think you can do much other than wait for the result. Writing to the editor and asking about time is fine but what will you do if the time estimate is after the book deadline? Well, you can always ask the book editor for an extension I guess.

My suggestion for you is to just sit tight and wait it out. If you have not heard from the journal in a time frame you think is normal for that journal then contact them. Trying to push things through is rarely a good path and if the material is good well written you should be able to get it published. So your first publication angst and impatience is something you share with many and not unique.

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