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I submitted a paper revision (1st revision) to an Elsevier journal 3 months ago. The problem is that last week they apparently changed the journal's editor-in-chief. My paper status was previously "With editor: 50 days", and now it has been reset to "With editor: 2 days". What happened to the revision process? Does it mean that the 3-month wait was in vain?

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Most likely, nothing changed. The previous editor was probably waiting for referees responses and the new editor is probably now waiting for the same referees to respond. Only if the new editor strongly disagrees with the choice of referees (which is very unlikely), he would ask for new ones and you would have lost time. But you are probably safe.

  • I agree with this in that it has no effect on the timeline. Another possibility is for the previous EIC to retain access and continue to shepherd the paper through the process, or conversely, for the new EIC to have taken this before officially moving into the position. They surely knew months in advance who would be taking over when. – Fred Douglis May 3 '17 at 3:05
  • But if the editor was waiting for referee responses shouldn't the status be "Under Review"? I am basing this on this question academia.stackexchange.com/questions/12497/… – Gerardo Figueroa May 3 '17 at 4:19
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    @GerardoFigueroa. It depends on the system but it is indeed plausible that the paper was just sitting in the old editor's desk (maybe because a new one was coming?), and it's only being considered now. – Shake Baby May 3 '17 at 4:25
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I had something similar happen with a recent paper. We had already received reviews and submitted our revisions, and the Associate Editor approved it...and then it sat with the Editor-in-Chief for months. After two months at that stage--which was unusually long for that journal--we emailed both EICs and the journal's administrative contact to ask whether there were additional revisions they'd like us to make. The new EIC responded relatively quickly to let us know that the old EIC was handling it, and within a week or so we had gotten editorial revisions back and were on our way to getting the paper accepted.

This worked out for us because:

  • We were professionally acquainted with both the old and new EIC (so we had enough rapport to push a bit), and
  • The paper was already quite far along in the process.

If your situation is like ours, then unfortunately, yes, it does seem that your 3-month wait had no practical function. It might be worth contacting the editor(s) just to be sure you have not fallen into a situation where each party thinks the other is handling it.

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