I'd just submitted a manuscript to Robotics & Autonomous Systems Journal on Mar. 1st, 2015. Right after 1 month, its status changed to Under Review. I just waited up to Jan. 2016 and send a letter to editor-in-chief to clear the status of the paper and any potential problem due to this delay. He did say this after that 10 months!:

you are right with your criticism. However your paper deals with research topics, where only a few of roboticist are familiar with. Hopefully we can get now the final required review. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Now, 2 extra months are passed, yet the paper's status is still Under Review.

They should have considered responsibility regarding the case. They could easily announce us about their inability to find any interested reviewer for the manuscript, and we would find the other journal. I'm frustrated a little bit. As a matter of fact, I am reluctant to withdraw the submission as they have wasted my time, NOTICEABLY, over the last year. I wonder if they have completely neglected it.

Is there any way to handle this case, and ask them POLITELY and REASONABLY, leading to the finalization of this manuscript's situation?


Edit: After 2 weeks from sending an email to the editor about the manuscript, he has not still replied.

  • 1
    Having been on both sides of the bench, it can be very difficult to find reviewers. Do you have an alternative journal in mind where you can hope to find specialised reader/reviewership? Unless that's the case, your chances of negotiating a speedup are limited, but you could do a bit of polite inquiry to find out whether actually the required number of reviewers has agreed and is active in carrying out the review (as opposed to the editors still looking for reviewers). Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 15:24
  • It might be very very difficult, but the editor should not have insisted on the stuff, she can't afford it. It is the typical situation, within which an early rejection DOES WORK! I might ask them for a clarification.
    – user41207
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 16:58
  • Yes, I agree, but perhaps they didn't realise it would be so difficult. Your best bet is to ask for a clarification. Trust me, I have seen much worse than merely "dormant" papers; keeping that in mind will help you write a neutral and polite query. Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 17:05
  • I'm a curious fish. You just edited this question. What's the Paul Harvey rest of the story? Has it been in review for 4 years? Or did you pull it? Rejected? Published?
    – guest
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 18:25
  • 2
    @guest: I pulled it out after an extra 2-month period of dormancy.
    – user41207
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


I'm in a different field, but had a similar situation. I got a paper published in a journal in a matter of 6 months (submission to publication), then followed with another paper a month later. That paper was in review without notice for 6 months. After two unanswered emails, I politely asked for a decision on publication such that I might submit elsewhere if publication wasn't likely. This prompted them to respond that they were having trouble locating reviewers and asked for a list of potential reviewers. I received my reviews for the paper about 2 months later. It seems that if you suggest you might pull the paper and submit elsewhere, it may open a more honest conversation!

  • I'm in the same boat in view of not receiving any answer on behalf of my emails! After above advice from Captain Emacs, I did send as email to ask about the situation, but one, considering the withdraw option and talking about that, is another options, as you made it...
    – user41207
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 2:19

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