The process of getting your manuscript published can be a stressful time, especially since there could be a lot of uncertainty around whether the journal is going to accept your manuscript for publication or not. Editors often operate under intense schedules, and their job requires a lot of effort, time, and coordination. Therefore, it is not unlikely that it could be a while before you learn about the status of your manuscript. If you are also working under a tight schedule and want to know the latest updates regarding your submission, it might be worthwhile to send a communication to the editor.
Before thinking about communicating with the editor, make sure that the journal does not provide updates on the website regarding your submission. For example, some journal editors may not respond to email queries that ask about the status of submissions, as the website displays the status of that manuscript. If the journal website says that your manuscript is under review or being processed, then it is not recommended to communicate with the journal editor, as they are likely to direct you to view the journal website (JMIR, 2022).
Although some journal websites may provide guidance on when a good time to send an inquiry about the status after a submission is, most journals do not give specifics about when they will accept inquiries. However, the general consensus among researchers and editors is that three months is the acceptable time to wait before sending an inquiry to the journal editor. An analysis of around three million papers that are indexed in PubMed from 1981 to 2015 shows that the median time until acceptance has remained fairly consistent at around 100 days, which is around three months (Clancy, 2019).
After waiting for the three-month period, unless otherwise specified by the journal’s website, you may email the journal editor to inquire about your manuscript status. With that said, journals may have different policies about who you may email for such inquiries, and they may suggest that you do not contact the editor but someone else in the organization. Make sure to check the journal website and look for any such information.
Here is an appropriate email template that authors may use in their inquiry email:
Dear Dr. EDITOR NAME,
My name is FIRST NAME SURNAME, and I am the first author of the article ARTICLE ID (ARTICLE NAME). We submitted our article to journal JOURNAL NAME on SUBMISSION DATE.
We have not received an update regarding the status of our manuscript. Could you let us know when we can expect notice regarding the first decision of the editorial board?
Thank you for your time and effort. Best Regards,
FIRST NAME SURNAME
It is important to remember that editors receive many submissions every year, sometimes upward of a thousand, and it may take them some time to get to every submission. Although policies are put into place to ensure a smooth process and the commitment of a lot of people to a straightforward process, there can be some rough patches along the way that prevent editors from getting to your submission in a timely manner. Keep in mind that patience is key, but it is equally important to know the status of your manuscript in order to ensure timely publication of your valuable work.
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