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Advice for a ‘journal horror story’?

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In our March, “how can we help you?” thread, a reader writes:

I have an ongoing journal horror story and I could use some advice.

I submitted a paper to a journal in March 2021, almost 14 months ago. Around 5 months in I started contacting the journal about the paper’s status once a month. The managing editor’s replies were very uninformative each time, but after a while they said that the journal was in the process of looking for a new publisher and that everything was slowed down as a result.

Once a year had passed I decided to contact the chief editor of the journal. The journal has a triple blind review review process, so I sent an anonymized email. A week later I got an R&R verdict on the paper, with quite positive reviews. I also got an apologetic letter from the managing editor, which revealed some details about the process. Apparently, everything in the journal has to go through the managing editor. At one point, the subject editor handling the manuscript had a query for the chief editor regarding the paper. The query had to go through the managing editor, who decided not to pass it along for now. It sat there for three months, because the managing editor thought that the chief editor should only be bothered with stuff regarding the new publisher deal. It was passed along to the chief editor only once I reached out.

I submitted a revision a month ago, and the paper is still stuck at the “undergoing initial checking” stage, which usually takes a day or two. I contacted the managing editor again, who said, as they did many times before, that they’re busy with this new publishing deal and my paper will move to the next stage very soon.

I’m afraid it will be months before the paper is even passed along to a subject editor and then to reviewers, and it might get new reviewers and who knows what will happen then. I’m not sure what to do. Should I contact the chief editor again? I don’t want to bother them again but I don’t know what else to do.

I have to confess that I’m really not sure what to advise here. Given that the revision has only been there a month, and R&R reviews can routinely take several months, I’m not sure that I would check in with the chief editor yet. Then again, given what happened during the first round review process, maybe checking in makes sense. I guess if it were me, I might wait another month or so, but again, I’m not sure. What do you all think?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More

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