Q: What should I do if my paper was accepted 10 months back, but I received no proofs and my files have already been archived?

Detailed Question -

Dear Editage [Insights],

My paper was accepted 10 months ago, but I still haven’t received proofs. When I emailed the editor, there was no response. Now, I find my files archived with the following message: The journal has elected to delete the files associated with the draft revision/resubmission of this manuscript. In order to continue, you must click the Create revision/resubmission [option]. Kindly suggest what should I do.

1 Answer to this question

Dear Anil,

Welcome to the forum.

We understand you must be feeling a mix of doubt, agitation, and frustration. Based on the situation you have described, these are very legitimate thoughts. All the same, there are multiple points to discuss here. So, let’s take them one by one.

  • 10 months is a long time between acceptance and publishing (or non-publishing, in your case). [However, a paper being stuck for so much time or longer on the journal side does happen at times, as you can read in this query by another user: What should I do about my manuscript being under peer review for two years?] There may be some challenges on the journal side, such as staffing, financial, or technological. However, these would be beyond our purview.
  • We wonder if you have made attempts at following up over these 10 months. If so, good on you. If not, as a word of advice, it helps to regularly follow up with journals, though of course without pestering. This also has relevance for a point we will discuss further below.
  • The Archive/d status means that the paper is no longer active in the system. This is usually done for accepted papers (though it may sometimes be done for new submissions that the journal is not interested in or for those it may wish to reconsider later). You may find out more about this status here: What does the manuscript status "archived" mean?
  • Your immediate next step could be to write to the journal again, this time talking about the archived status and message and seeking their advice on what you should do. If they respond this time, you may proceed as they suggest. In case they don’t respond, you may consider using the Create revision/resubmission option mentioned in your query. If you do this, drop in another mail to the editor saying you have done so. In case there’s no response again, this perhaps leads us to the next point.
  • There is a possibility that this may be a predatory journal. You haven’t mentioned the details of the review and acceptance process. If it didn’t go through any reviews, and without doubting the quality of your manuscript, there is a chance that this is a bogus journal. To confirm this, you may go through their site and perform the checks mentioned in this list: 10 Point checklist to identify predatory publishers
  • In case this is indeed a predatory journal or/and they don’t respond for, say, a month, and while this may seem further anguishing (after all the time spent on this), you may consider withdrawing the paper and submitting it elsewhere. For the things to keep in mind for a withdrawal, you may go through this resource: Should I withdraw my paper if the journal is taking unusually long to process? [As mentioned here, and as indicated earlier, do save all the communication you have had so far with this journal. It will also help you for submitting to another journal.]
  • Before submitting to another journal, you may check about its quality (using the predatory checklist above) and also drop them a presubmission inquiry, in which you could describe the history of the manuscript and asking if they’d be okay with receiving your manuscript. This is to minimize the frustration of sending to too many journals unsuccessfully. As it would have been about a year since you revised your manuscript, you may consider making some updates to reflect the current thinking and knowledge in your field (based entirely on the nature of your field).

In summary, whether it does prove to be a predatory journal or whether it’s simply that they’ve been lax in responding, article publishing can be quite challenging. But sometimes, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And in your case, we hope it shines sooner. Fingers crossed! :-)