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Say I have submitted a paper, it got accepted, but for whatever reason I would like to publish this not in the next issue, but in a future issue.

Could I ask the publisher to do this, or would this be considered rude? How would I best ask for something like this?

  • Are you sure your paper is scheduled to appear in the next issue? If it has only just been accepted, then it might not be, due to the need for proofreading or a queue of other articles ahead of it. – user72102 Jun 2 '17 at 12:36
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    Can you please add the reason to your question? – user24098 Jun 2 '17 at 13:25
  • Note that if the article was scheduled for a special issue of the journal on a particular topic, chances that the request will be denied are probably much higher than otherwise. – O. R. Mapper Jun 4 '17 at 18:35
  • Note that deciding which issue it is formally a part of may be less important than determining when it is available online, since things often appear as "in press" shortly after acceptance, even when their issue is some time away. – Flyto Jun 5 '17 at 8:56
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Speaking as somebody involved in journal editing, I would find such a request unusual but not rude per se. The most important part of making the request would be providing a clear and well-justified explanation for why you want to make sure a variation. There are, in fact, legitimate reasons that somebody might request a delay, such as:

  • Since the initial submission, a decision has been made to file a patent, and the delay is necessary to have time to complete the filing (so as to prevent the patent from being invalidated by public disclosure).
  • The article is intended to be co-published with another article derived from the same work. For example, this is often done by large physics collaborations. Usually, the journal should already be aware of this and planning for it based on the initial submission's cover letter, but mistakes can happen.
  • The authors have discovered a possible error and want to delay publication to resolve the question rather than risk a correction or retraction.

I think it is likely that most strong and reputable journals would be willing to make reasonable accommodations for situations such as these. For bad reasons (e.g., you want to see if your paper will be accepted by another journal that you dual-submitted to), expect to have your request ignored or to face more severe consequences.

Even if you have what you feel is a quite appropriate and reasonable request, however, be prepared for the possibility that the journal may be unwilling to accommodate your request for its own reasons. Publication, remember, is largely a voluntary association on both sides. In this case, you may be faced with a decision to publish on the journal's schedule or to withdraw the submission---or the journal may even make that choice for you, and not in the way that you prefer.

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    I don't think a patent is a good reason. If you don't sort that out when you submit, you have no business submitting. – Fred Douglis Jun 4 '17 at 15:39
  • @FredDouglis In my experience, lots of things can change over the course of a long review and revision process, particularly with busy people and multi-institution collaborative teams. I myself have been surprised in the past by late-breaking patent filings by collaborators. – jakebeal Jun 4 '17 at 18:33
  • Just because it happens doesn't mean it's reasonable. I know that in every company I've worked for, there's a formal process for submitting a paper, which includes addressing the question of whether any necessary patents have been filed. If an author suddenly decides they failed to file a patent, and asks a publisher to delay publication, they screwed up. IMHO and YMMV. – Fred Douglis Jun 4 '17 at 19:21
  • @FredDouglis Well-observed processes are a wonderful thing, but I've rarely observed them in action in the looser scientific activities of universities and startups. – jakebeal Jun 5 '17 at 22:38

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