Q: Should I withdraw my manuscript if it is still at the 'Editor Invited' status after seven months?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a manuscript to Scientific Reports on November 29, 2019. A new peer review system is being implemented since June 23, 2020. The current status is ‘EDITOR INVITED,’ but the result of the review has not been provided yet. It is seven months since submission. Should I withdraw the manuscript?

1 Answer to this question

Seven months is a long time since submission and without the peer review started. However, there have been manuscripts that have taken longer to publish, some even up to two or more years. Also, Scientific Reports is from Springer Nature, which is a major publisher. But seven months with almost no progress is still quite long.

Also, note that the ‘Editor Invited’ status does not mean peer reviewers have been invited; that would be indicated by a status such as ‘Reviewers Invited.’ ‘Editor Invited’ means that the manuscript is pending assignment to an associate editor (AE), who is an internal professional (that is, working with the journal). This is at least a couple of statuses before the peer review. The AE needs to go through the manuscript to decide whether or not to send the manuscript for peer review. So, again, seven months without any real decision or movement on the manuscript is pretty long.

Coming to your other point, of there being a new peer review system, we are not aware of this. There is no information about this on either the site or the net. Even if this is the case, we doubt that this would be the reason for the delay. Scientific Reports and Springer Nature are well-established entities to not allow such a change to impact manuscript processing timelines.

What you can do is to write to the journal asking for an update about the status and more information on the change in the peer review system (if that is indeed the case). Once you know more about both these aspects, you will be in a better position to decide how to proceed: whether to wait for the peer review or to withdraw and submit to another journal. Additionally, on the side, you can also send a presubmission inquiry to other journals in case you decide to withdraw from here. This will save you precious time and effort in case you wish to submit elsewhere.

For more insights into this matter, you may refer to the following resources:

Hope that helps. And all the best for the next decisions!