Q: Should I withdraw my manuscript or wait longer?

Detailed Question -

I submitted my manuscript on April 26, 2017, and the status became “In review” on August 23. I sent an email to the editorial office on September 6 and asked them to take a decision within one month. They replied the next day that the review was taking long because they could not find peer reviewers, and they would process the manuscript as soon as possible. However, the status still remains “In review” but the status date was updated on September 22.

This paper is for my thesis defense, so I am thinking of withdrawing it if the result is unknown by the end of September. But I am wondering whether I should wait a while longer, if the update of the status date could be considered as a positive sign. If I wait, can I make an inquiry to the editorial office again to ask when the result is known? Your advice would be appreciated.

1 Answer to this question

Change of the status date without a change in status indicates that the editor or reviewer has accessed the database for your paper. It is possible that one of the reviewers accessed the database to submit their comments. The other possibility is that the editor was checking your database to see if reviewer comments have come in. Generally, peer review can take anywhere between a few weeks to several months. So, there's really no certainty that you will receive a decision within a month. But if you withdraw your manuscript and submit it to another journal, it might take even longer as the process will begin from scratch once again. Since the current journal is responsive, you can consider waiting a while longer. Meanwhile, you can send another email to the journal explaining that you need the paper for your thesis defense, so that they understand the urgency of the situation and try to expedite the process. 

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