Q: Should I consider my article withdrawn if the editor has not confirmed my withdrawal request by email?
I submitted my article four months ago. The article was sent for review. After that, I sent an email asking about the final decision, but did not receive an answer. A week later, I explained to them that the delay is really impacting the timeline of my thesis, and therefore, requested the withdrawal of my article. Two weeks later, I sent them a reminder. However, there was still no answer. I then contacted the journal by WhatsApp. They told me that they had received the withdrawal request. I asked them politely if I should consider my article withdrawn, to which they responded: “Yes, you can.” I asked them twice to send me a confirmation by email. They said “Ok,” but they have not. What should I do?
It really looks like you need to have this article published by a certain timeline. Also, you seem to be quite persevering and inventive, following up regularly with the journal as well as utilizing all means to correspond with them. Those are a few of the many personal attributes that go to make successful researchers. So, kudos there!
To answer your question, yes, you can consider this article withdrawn. While the journal may not have sent the confirmation by email, they have said so by WhatsApp. However, you can send one final mail stating that you are considering the article withdrawn just as they had stated so. This is both for making it official and for maintaining a record.
Speaking of which, save all the mails you have exchanged with the editor and also the WhatsApp message(s). You will need these when submitting to another journal.
Now, given that the deadline for your thesis seems quite close and you still need to have the article published, your best bet would be to approach a rapid publication journal in your field. Before doing so, also speak with your supervisor if this is fine. Additionally, keep them apprised of the situation with the present journal.
Finally, while I understand your need to have this article published by a certain date, do note that the publication process takes quite a while. Four months, as in your case, is a moderate amount of time by most quality journal’s standards. Going forward, you will need to plan properly, such as by understanding and following the processes and timelines for submission, review, acceptance, and publication.
For now, all the best for publication with another journal!