Q: Is it common to see the manuscript status as 'Awaiting Reviewer Selection' for more than a month?
I submitted my manuscript five weeks ago, and in a week, the status appeared as 'Awaiting Reviewer Selection.' It has been a month now, but the status has not changed. Should I be worried? Is there anything I can do to accelerate this process?
The problem is, I am planning to submit an adapted version of the manuscript as a book chapter. (The journal I submitted to allows it to be reprinted by permission once it is published.) However, I am worried that these delays may prevent me from getting this opportunity. The book chapter submission deadline is December 2020, but the book won't be published before October 2021.
What would you suggest? Thanks.
You have a couple of queries/concerns. Let’s take them one by one.
Firstly, the status. One month since your manuscript moved to ‘Awaiting Reviewer Selection’ is a bit long, though not unusual. The journal may be having a challenge finding the appropriate reviewers (both in terms of numbers and expertise). Among other reasons, this could be due to the field of study – perhaps it’s niche/super-specialized, interdisciplinary, or new/emerging. In which case, as you asked, if you know of some experts in the field, you could consider suggesting their names as potential reviewers with the journal. Before that, you can write to the journal requesting an update on the progress/status. In the mail, you may discuss the idea of sharing the names of peer reviewers with them. Apart from that, you need to include mentioning that, as they would well know, a delay may impact the book submission deadline.
Now, the book submission. While this has dependency on the manuscript review, you may consider writing to the book editor (if you know them) apprising them of the situation. You could do this through a presubmission inquiry. You could see what they have to say about this, such as whether they may allow you to make a deferred submission. If not, you may have to consider a different book publisher. So, it may be wise to keep looking up other potential publishers on the side, in case the process at the journal does get delayed.
Overall, while you can take things one step at a time, you can keep initiating other actions to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality.
For the book submission, you may find this relevant reading: Should I accept an invitation to publish my academic work as a book?
For submissions in general, you may find these resources helpful:
- Tracking your manuscript status in journal submission systems
- A journal editor's insight into what happens post manuscript submission
- How to create a winning pre-submission package [Handbook]
Hope that helps. All the best for both!