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Publication question


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Karajan

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 10:19 PM

I submitted a paper for publication at the start of July, and haven't heard anything about the status of my paper yet. I was wondering if it's ok to follow up, or if I should just wait, perhaps indefinitely?

Thank you.
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#2 eco_env

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:58 AM

I think 1 month is a pretty reasonable length of time to wait, but it probably varies by field.
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#3 Karajan

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:17 AM

Ok, thank you. I suppose if I haven't heard anything by the start of September, I may inquire. The deadline for the annual issue isn't until October 31 though, so the editor may just be waiting to read it until after the deadline.
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#4 runonsentence

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 03:11 AM

If I'm remembering correctly from my days in publishing, you can usually expect to hear back from a peer-review process within 3 months. I'd probably wait at least one more month before checking in.
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#5 fuzzylogician

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 12:36 PM

Did the editor acknowledge receipt of the paper? If not, you should contact them. If they did, the review process itself could very well take more than two months (it does in my field) so I wouldn't ask questions yet. In another month or so I think it's fine to inquire about the paper. Some journals tell you how long it usually takes to get reviews back in their author-guidelines section, check there before you ask.
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The advice in this post is based on my own personal experience. YMMV.
Pardon my typos..

#6 rising_star

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:15 AM

Here's some advice from a publication I just read:

Should the manuscript go out for full review, the editor will have to find some number of reviewers to assess your manuscript (usually from three to five, but sometimes as few as one or two, and sometimes as many as eight or more). Typically, about double to triple the number of desired reviewers must be asked before a sufficient number agree. Then the reviewers are provided some length of time (usually three weeks to three months) to prepare and submit their comments. Some reviewers can be months late in returning their reviews, at times forcing an editor to seek additional reviewers. Once all of the reviews are in, the editor must read your manuscript and the reviews, make a decision, and then respond to you, often by writing an editor's letter of some kind.
This process takes time. The swiftest these various steps can take place is about one month, but far more common is three to four months, and sometimes six months or more.


He goes on to add the following:

Even when questions of promotion are not pressing, it may happen that you feel you have been waiting an inordinately long time to hear back from a journal. If you do wish to contact the journal, my first suggestion is that you do your homework and use the journal's webpage to determine the administrative contact for the journal. Often this person will have a title like “editorial assistant.” If no name is listed, the key thing to look for is the e-mail address for the journal—not the e-mail address of the editor. Only as a last resort should you ever contact the editor herself or himself. Some authors inexplicably think “going to the top” and sending an e-mail to the personal e-mail address of the editor will result in the swiftest response. This is inadvisable for several reasons, including the fact that it is usually administrative staff who handle the online submissions system on a daily basis and are best positioned to check on a manuscript. Another reason attempting to contact the editor directly is inadvisable is that many editors struggle to segregate their research and teaching from their editorial duties by avoiding use of their personal e-mail accounts for editorial work.


Note: This article appeared in the most recent issue of American Anthropologist and was written by the journal's editior-in-chief. While he points out this his advice is most useful to anthropologists, I'm quoting it here because I think it has relevance beyond that specific discipline. Specifically, I chose these two sections because I think they address your (OP's) questions about how long to wait and who to contact. Anyway, the whole thing is worth a read, as are some of the publications he references that offer more information on the publishing process.


Boellstorff, T. (2011), Submission and Acceptance: Where, Why, and How to Publish Your Article. American Anthropologist, 113: 383–388. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2011.01348.x
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#7 runonsentence

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 12:29 AM

Yes, yes, excellent point—editorial assistant is the most appropriate contact.
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#8 Karajan

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I will just carry on waiting and will check the info about submissions on the journal's website to see if there is anything about the typical amount of time taken to make decisions.
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#9 Ludwik Kowalski

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:48 AM

If I'm remembering correctly from my days in publishing, you can usually expect to hear back from a peer-review process within 3 months. I'd probably wait at least one more month before checking in.


That has been my experience as well. A decent editor should at least acknowledge that the manuscript was received, as soon as possible, for example, within a week or two. But many of them do not do this. That is what happened to my, after the last submission. After waiting a month I sent the editor a polite email message, asking for a confirmation that my manuscript was not lost. The answer arrived after two days. It was from a new editor, informing me that the manuscript will be submitted to a referee very shortly. The delays are usually caused be referees.
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http://csam.montclai...life/intro.html

It is an autobiography illustrating my evolution from one extreme to another--from a devoted Stalinist to an active anti-communist. This testimony is based on a diary I kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

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#10 Karajan

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 12:43 PM

Good to know. Thanks! They confirmed they'd received it a day after I sent it.
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#11 Karajan

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 10:12 PM

I followed up on my paper. No response. Bad sign? Probably. Sigh.
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#12 Karajan

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 03:18 PM

They responded saying they'd let me know definitely by last week, and it's this week, and I haven't heard anything...
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#13 Karajan

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 04:32 PM

I got R&R.
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#14 Medievalmaniac

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 06:51 PM

R&R is great! Well done. But, make sure you DO R&R - try to get it turned around within 3-4 weeks. firstly, because it ensures you don't set it aside and then forget to do it, secondly, because their comments and your work on it is still fresh in your mind, and thirdly because it demonstrates your professionalism - they will remember that if you submit in future even if this article ultimately ends up rejected.

For your first question, it's usually a good idea to wait between 2-3 months before inquiring about an article's status at most journals, because as others have said the peer-reviewed ones do take some time, and some peers are more punctual than others in their reviewing. :)
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