Q: How should I make a second inquiry about the manuscript status?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a manuscript one year ago, and resubmitted the revised manuscript in response to the third peer review seven months ago. After that, the status has remained unchanged as ‘With Editor.’ When I inquired about the latest status three months ago, the reply was: ‘Currently your manuscript is under review by the editor and the editorial office. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the review may be delayed than usual.’ How should I make a second inquiry now?

1 Answer to this question

The timelines for processing a manuscript vary from journal to journal. In your case, the journal has notified you that the pandemic is likely to cause delays, but it’s been over seven months since the submission and three months since you received an update. So, you could send a polite inquiry to the journal asking when you could expect an update. If you receive an automated response, you can check the journal website and check if any personal email addresses are listed for the editor and write to them directly for an update. As your manuscript has cleared three rounds of review, it would be a good idea to exercise patience and wait for the journal to process it further.

Incidentally, a few researchers have previously shared queries on pandemic-related review challenges. You may refer to them below.

For help with writing a carefully balanced mail, you may check out this handbook that offers ready templates for various scenarios for communicating with a journal: A practical handbook of templates for communicating with the journal [The handbook is available from R Upskill, a sister brand providing learning programs for various aspects of a researcher’s work, from writing to submission to publication. So, do check it out.]

Hope that helps. All the best in hearing from the journal soon, and given that it’s been so long, hopefully positively! :)