Q: My submission is continuing with the editor in the 13th week since submission. What can be the reason

Detailed Question -

I submitted my manuscript to a journal under the publishing group Elsevier on 18th Apr 2022. It is with the editor from 19th Apr and is continuing the status after 12 weeks since submission. I have raised queries thrice regarding my status. The latest reply that I received is " The manuscript will be processed in due course". The journal has reported its average time for the first decision as 8 weeks and for the final decision, it is 11.9 weeks. Anything that is ominous about this condition?

1 Answer to this question

Dear Author,

Thank you for writing to us.

We understand that you must be very anxious that the status of your manuscript has not changed. The following could be reason for peer review not be completed:

-Some of the reviewers that initially accepted to review the manuscript have now declined to review it due to their availability. Therefore, the Assigned Editor (AE) has now sent the manuscript back for peer review with a new set of reviewers.

-Some of the reviewers possibly sent the manuscript back with their comments (may be the comments were incomplete, superficial, lacked any scientific rigor, or were inappropriate) and therefore the AE not being satisfied with the reviewers’ comments, has now sent the manuscript back for peer review possibly with a different set of reviewers.

Generally speaking peer review take about 2-4 months to be completed. That said, the journal has not adhered to its proposed peer review timeline of 8 weeks for first decision and is not clear about the status even after multiple inquiry attempts. If you are on tight publication time line and do not want to wait any further, you can consider writing back to the journal to withdraw the manuscript from consideration and submit it to another journal.