I understand that it can be quite a nail-biter waiting for the journal to get back to you about your submission. In my experience, journal review turnaround times tend to vary by discipline, with some journals responding within a month and others taking as long as eight months. Many journals indicate on their websites the expected turnaround time: for example, Elsevier states that most of its journals notify authors of their decisions within 4 months. Ideally, you should learn about your target journal’s review process and timelines before submitting so that you can prepare yourself for the wait time.
If your journal does not specify the expected review time, you can try checking previously published papers from the journal and see if they provide any statistics. Most journals provide the submission date, acceptance date, and publication date for papers published online; the difference between the former two dates will give you the review time.
It’s important to remember that even if the journal mentions its expected review time, it is merely an average, and the actual time required depends on several factors, like the journal editor’s ability to find suitable peer reviewers, the availability and responsiveness of the peer reviewers, and the extent of the recommended revisions. If you have submitted your paper through the journal’s submission software, you can track the status of your paper, which will tell you if it is “Under Review.”
In case your target journal does not give any indication of its review time and you have no way of finding out the status of your submission, you should be patient until at least four months have passed. After that, there should be no harm in writing a polite reminder email to the journal’s editor asking when you can expect a decision or an update on the status of the manuscript. Most journal editors are or have been researchers themselves and know the anxiety an author faces when waiting to hear from the journal after a manuscript submission.
You can phrase your email along the lines:.
Dear [insert journal editor’s name]:
This is with regard to my/our submitted manuscript, [insert manuscript reference number], titled “[insert manuscript title]”, which was submitted to your journal on [insert date of submission] for consideration as a [insert article type, e.g., original article or case report].
We have not yet received an update on the status of our manuscript in the review process. Would you let us know when we can expect to hear about the editorial board’s decision?
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,[Insert author’s name and correspondence details]
I hope this helps and that you receive a reply from the journal editor soon. Good luck!