Q: What can I do if my submission remains 'Awaiting Reviewer Assignment' for a long time?
I submitted my manuscript to a journal. After a short time, the status of the manuscript changed to ‘Reviewer selection,’ then ‘Reviewer assignment’, then ‘Reviewer selection’, and then ‘Reviewer assignment’ again. The status has not changed to ‘Under review’. I am afraid that after this long period, the editor will reject the manuscript. So, please give me advice. Should I withdraw the manuscript from the journal OR suggest a number of reviewers from different countries to the editor? Finally, thank you.
The number of times your manuscript status has changed to ‘Awaiting Reviewer Assignment’ and then back to ‘Awaiting Reviewer Selection’ reflects the challenge the editor is having in getting the requisite number of reviewers (usually two or three) for the peer review. This could be due to the approaching holiday season; the frequent changes in the status could reflect the frequent changes to leave plans by potential reviewers. It could also be that some reviewers who were contacted could not take up the review due to a conflict of interest or a subject mismatch. Do not worry. A frequent change of this status does not mean the editor will reject the manuscript; it just means it will take longer. So, I would not suggest withdrawing the manuscript now. You could wait until mid-January, that is, until after the holiday season. Until then, as you have very thoughtfully mentioned, you could write to the editor suggesting alternative reviewers. This also shows how proactively you are thinking about your manuscript and how eager you are about its potential publication. All the best!