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Submitted a paper a month ago, no reply

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Hi all,

I submitted a paper to an article about a month ago.  I had heard that this particular journal had a relatively fast response time.  I was wondering if/when I should contact to journal to see the status of the article and check the status.  I feel it may come off too pushy and eager and just wanted everyone's thoughts.



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Fears of coming off as pushy & eager are easily combated with politeness & succinctness, I think. If there's a phone number listed as a point of contact for the publication, call & leave a message with your name, some contact information, & a one-liner about your reason for calling.


E.g.: "Good afternoon, American Journal of Derpology, this is Pears calling. I submitted a paper titled "Derpderpderp" on August 25, and was wondering whether it's moved forward in the review process at all. You can reach me at 867-5309 or pears@butts.edu. Thank you!"


Obviously, your own phrasing & the standard M.O. for this kind of stuff probably differs field to field, but that's how I'd do it. Calling usually yields faster answers, I find, & people don't mind answering calls if you're polite & gracious. If calling isn't an option, just write a similarly professional yet personable email.

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I submitted one paper 9 months ago and another one 8 months ago and I'm still waiting :P 


I'd say the first thing to find out is what "relatively fast" means in your field -- in mine if you hear back after 3 months you consider yourself extremely lucky. If it's true that you should have heard back already, then send the journal editors (or the editor assigned to your paper if you know who that is) a polite email asking when you might expect to hear back. I do this with every paper I have submitted to a journal -- I start sending emails 3 months after the submission date and then I send another email periodically, roughly in one-month intervals. It's a good way to make sure they don't forget about you. As long as you're polite, you should be fine. If the email you get back expresses irritation with the request, I'd wait longer before contacting them again, and be even more humble in my next email. 

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I wouldn't even expect to hear anything within a month.  All journals are different and a lot depends on how prdoactive the editor is, but one month is not long at all. 


On the other hand, I submitted a paper and wanted to cite it for a scholarship.  I heard the editor was good and knew of some people who got reviews back within 4-6 weeks, so I emailed him after only 4 weeks.  He said he was waiting on one outstanding review and ended up letting me know it was accepted the next day.


I was very polite and almost apologetic about asking.  I felt like it wasn't a good move to email after only a month, but I really had to know about the paper, money was at stake!

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