Q: What to do if my manuscript is stuck at "under review" stage?

Detailed Question -

I am a doctoral student and submitted a paper to a journal. I submitted my paper on the 1st of April, and the status had changed to ‘under review’ around the 2nd of May. However, I did not receive a reviewer comment until the end of June. So, I sent an email to an editor through the journal submission system on the 30th of June. 

However, there is still no response to this. What should I do in this situation? On the journal website, they mentioned the turnaround time as follows:

2.6 weeks (first decision), 4 weeks (Review time) 1.1 weeks (Publication time)

I would appreciate any advice regarding this situation.

1 Answer to this question

This is indeed a very tricky situation.

At this point, you have two options. You can either follow up again and wait and watch or you can request a withdrawal of your manuscript, so that you can submit it to some other relevant journal. Remember that you cannot submit your manuscript elsewhere before you withdraw it from the current journal; this is against the norms.

In your case, I would suggest that you send a follow up and also simultaneously start preparing a backup manuscript (based on the guidelines of the new journal and with revision to contents, if required) for submission to other journals. If you receive a response from the current journal, say, asking for only minor revisions, this process will definitely be quicker and easier.

If you still don't receive a response, you can ask for withdrawal, and once that is approved, you can   immediately submit the new manuscript to the next journal. Remember that it might take a while before the withdrawal is approved. Again, you might have to send multiple follow up requests if such is the case.