Q: How do I make an inquiry for publication in the early numbers of a journal?
My paper has been accepted in a peer-reviewed journal, but has not been published yet. I would like it to be published in the early numbers of the journal; I need this for my promotion. How can I gently request this of the editor?
Firstly, congrats on your article being accepted!
Now, what I believe you mean by ‘early numbers’ is the Early View of your article. This is the accepted and copy-edited version of your article first published online before its publication in the print version of the journal. You haven’t mentioned whether the proofing stage of your article is complete, because even after being accepted, there are a few milestones before the article is published, even as an Early View. If the proofing is complete, there is a short while to publish. If not, there is some more time. In either case, I understand both your eagerness and the need (as you say this might be a requisite to your promotion). However, note that a journal has its own procedures, policies, and timelines for publishing accepted articles.
Nevertheless, you can go ahead and write to the editor about your situation. It’s a reasonable query (and perhaps request). However, do be prepared that while the editor may understand your need and situation and may do their best keeping this in mind, they may not always be in a position to oblige (for the reasons previously mentioned).
If the promotion is time-dependent, you can also keep your organization or institute informed of the status and communication with the editor, so that they know you are doing your best for an early publication. I trust they would be reasonable as well and not hold this in the way. If they are likely to accept an official letter of acceptance from the journal (as discussed in an earlier question linked below), you could also request this of the editor.
So, if all goes well, advanced congrats also for the promotion!