Q: What to do if the report from Reviewer 2 is pending for a long time?

Detailed Question -

The average review period of the target journal that I submitted is two weeks, and it usually takes about a month to get the first revision. However, I submitted the paper at the end of May and the status is still “under review.” It has been almost 2 months now.

I checked the status now: Reviewer 1 has already finished review in the end of May, and reviewer 2 approved it in the end of May but has not yet finished the review yet. The status has changed several times between “waiting due” to “last reminder date.” I assume that the editor keeps sending reminders to the reviewer since he has not answered. (I have seen the status “Due date” 5 times. I don’t think that reviewer did not ask extension every time.)

In this situation, may I send an inquiry email to the editor? If I could, how would you like me to do it? I am afraid that my paper will get rejected by if I am impatient.

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Answer:

Peer review is quite a lengthy and time consuming process. It is quite common for reviews to last for several months as reviewers are busy researchers themselves. The second reviewer may be busy with other reviews lined up or some other commitment and therefore has not been able to send in the review in the expected time.

I can understand that as an author, this must be a very stressful situation for you. But please don’t worry, delays in peer review are quite common.

However, there is no harm in sending an inquiry to the journal editor. You need not worry about sounding impolite as editors too understand the anxiety that authors face during the entire journal evaluation process. You can write a polite inquiry to the editor asking about the progress of your manuscript.

You can refer the following template while writing your inquiry:

Dear Mr./Ms. XXX [Editor's Name],

I have submitted my manuscript titled XXXX [manuscript id: xxxx] to your journal via the online submission system on dd/mm/yyyy [date of submission]. My manuscript has been “under review” for the last two months.

I would be grateful if you could let me know whether there has been any further progress on my submission.

Sincerely,

XXXX [Your name and contact details]

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