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So, I was asked to referee a paper for a reputed TCS journal which I did. I wrote my report within 3 months from invitation but I was waiting almost 6 more months till I get Editor's notification for the decision (sent to authors but also to myself as a referee).

The authors of that paper prepared a major revision and submitted within 3 weeks this new version, and I was asked by the editor to re-evaluate this newer version. I did, again within 3 months.

Now, more than 6 months have passed since I uploaded my report and still no news from the editor. When I login as a reviewer into the system I see: Status under review and Status Date to be the date I uploaded my recommendation. From this I conclude that no new referee was asked and simply the 2nd referee is, again, very late with her/his report (6+3 = 9 months at least since we were asked to re-evaluate the new version).

Now, this is a very interesting, difficult and somewhat controversial, paper and I would realy like the authors to see and answer my comments/suggestions/questions as soon as possible . The more time passes, the more I forget about the paper and I would have to read it again and again in a possible 3rd round.

Question: Does it make sense me, as a reviewer, to contact the editor about the status of the paper stating my reasons about that? What would be, most likely, the reaction of the editor? Did this ever happened? Or simply to stay silent since this is not my paper?

Note that I do not plan to have time after September, due to many commitements, to dedicate myself on re-evaluating such a difficult paper so it is a matter of time (besides the obvious interest) for me and this is an issue that would affect my plan next semester when the other referee decides to send the report to go into the 3rd round.

  • One time I reviewed a paper for a reputed journal, where I found the paper very weak without any contribution and it should be rejected. I did not get informed by the editor after submitting my review with detailed comments. A few months later, I accidentally found it accepted and published without even contacting me to check whether my comments are responded. The problem is that the editor is keeping asking me to review other papers. What I want to say is that the editor has the full right to not asking you for reviewing the revised manuscript. Even if this sounds wasting of reviewer's time. – Younes Jul 17 '17 at 12:10
  • @John I understand. But notice that the Status of the manuscript, in my case, is stuck at Under review and the date is the one I submitted my review. So, the only explanation is that the 2nd reviewer is tardy. Anyway, the main question is: could/should I ask the editor what s/he plans to do with that paper, assuming my hypothesis is correct? – PsySp Jul 17 '17 at 12:14
  • I did not to respond to your question in a direct way so that you can assess the situation from my example. Of course, you can contact the editor, but in your position, I do not want to hear that they just skipped my comments because they want to increase the acceptance ratio (You can not make sure that this is the case but you cannot neglect it as well). I would suggest you wait until you are asked to review the paper again and if you feel then that your review won't be as high as expected, you suggest to ask another reviewer for better assessment. – Younes Jul 17 '17 at 12:23
  • One more thing, may be the authors are asking for an extension. In my last paper, I asked for one and half months extension because I had other academic activities. The editor was very understanding, especially because reviewers asked for a really major revision. – Younes Jul 17 '17 at 12:34
  • Some journals allow you to mark yourself as "unavailable for refereeing" for a particular period of time in their online reviewing portal. You might want to see if this journal allows you to do so; even if this review process gets done on time, it'll save the editors the trouble of sending other papers to you when you're too busy to review them. – Michael Seifert Jul 18 '17 at 14:12
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In my opinion, it is ok to ask politely about anything to the editors, as long as you can (and do) explain sensibly why you ask, and as long as you don't demand it. Such requests shall be at worst considered odd or unusual.

In this case, I think it is in the best interest of everyone involved for you to let know the editor about your timing issue (and the sooner the better). The most probable outcome is that the editor will still wait for the second reviewer, because otherwise the authors could think answering your demands should be enough to get their paper accepted, and they could get pissed off if other demands arrive later from the second referee. Even if there is no such misunderstanding, they could prefer to dive in their paper to correct it once rather than twice.

However, letting the editor know might prompt her or him to push a bit the second reviewer, possibly speeding up the process a bit. He or she might also decide to go with your sole report. In any case, once the editor have all relevant info on her or his hand, he or she can choose the most appropriate course of action.

  • Thanks for the answe. I am aware that such a request coming from a reviewer is unusual, I wanted to be sure how odd/unusual might sound and if anybody had any similar experiences. I will write a message to the editor to explain my situation. In the worst case, as you say, s/he will reply that s/he waits the 2nd report from the tardy ref. – PsySp Jul 18 '17 at 12:38
  • I'm sure the editor is no more happy than you about the delays, so I'm not sure that your ping will help... but they can't hurt. I think the solution is to decline to rereview in the event it makes another round. Some journals won't do more than one round of revisions anyway. – Fred Douglis Jul 18 '17 at 19:53

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