Q: How long does it take to go from 'Received for production' to 'Article in proofs'?

Detailed Question -

My paper has recently been accepted for publication with an Elsevier journal. The EIC letter stated that the manuscript would go from 'Received for production' to 'Article in proofs.' However, three weeks have already passed by without any change. I have noticed several papers accepted later than mine already being up on the website. Could someone please explain how the process takes place? Thanks!

1 Answer to this question

Firstly, congrats on having your article accepted, that too with an Elsevier journal! So, it’s understandable that you’d like to see your article out as soon as possible, which is why the ‘inexplicable’ delay could be a bit frustrating.

To answer your query, journals usually take two-three weeks after acceptance to send you the proofs. During this time, they typeset the article (lay it out as per the journal’s design and look) and have a copy-editor go through the acceptance manuscript and then send you the proofed version. You are meant to check the proof to ensure there are no errors. However, this stage is more for smaller issues (such as spelling errors, spacing issues, and alignments) and (hopefully) no big ones.

As you’ve mentioned that several later papers seem to be already up on the site, there’s no harm in writing to the journal requesting an update on the proofs. As you’ve no doubt communicated with the editor already, this should be a reasonable request to make. All the same, if you need help with writing to the journal, you may refer to the templates in this handbook: Templates for communicating with the journal [Note: This is from our sister brand, R Upskill, a platform offering a variety of learning programs for researchers/academics. So, you may wish to check out R Upskill for reasons beyond the handbook.]

And while you wait to hear back from the journal, it may help to be ready for the proofing stage by going through these resources.

Hope that helps. All the best in taking the manuscript toward publication! And again, congrats on the acceptance!