After submitting your manuscript, the hard wait for the review starts. You could think that everything is handled perfectly on a FIFO basis. But this is unfortunately not the case. It is not an easy job to be editor, it takes a lot of effort, time investment and organisation. So you have to do everything to facilitate their work and this requires some follow-up from your side. Here are the most important steps.
- Set a reminder one week after submission to check the status of your submission (generally on the website where you submitted it). It should be “with reviewers” or a similar status. If not, send a gentle email to the editor:
Dear Editor, We have submitted our manuscript to JOURNAL for review the DATE. We have checked the status today and we noticed that it didn't evolve since we submitted it. We are wondering if there was something wrong with our submission or if we can be of any help in the process. Yours sincerely,
Dear Editor, My submission to the XXX Special Issue has been assigned the number NUMBER on the DATE. Currently it is under the status «with Editor». I understand the important load that such a special issue represents and I wanted to make sure there was not something wrong with my submission. Could you please give me an update on the status of the submission? If I can be of any assistance to help move the process forward please let me know.
2. Set a reminder 6 weeks after the time the status switched to “with reviewers” (precision doesn’t matter a lot). At that point you should have received your review as most of the journal ask the reviewers to submit their review within the month (or shorter). If you didn’t receive your review, send the following gentle message to editor:
Dear Editor, We have submitted our manuscript to JOURNAL for review the DATE. So far we didn't receive the review. Given the average time of review in your journal, we are wondering if the process is following its course normally or if you are still waiting for additional late reviews. We appreciate the time and effort you’re investing in this task. Yours sincerely,
Once you receive your review, you have to submit a the rebuttal. You need to take every point of the reviewer and do something with it in your manuscript. If you think he/she completely misunderstood something, this tells you that you should probably improve how it is explained. The best practice for your rebuttal is to use different text format to show the comment of the reviewer, your reply to the comment, and what has been implemented in the text (and where).
Don’t emphasise to much how you appreciate the comments of the reviewer. After a while it looks really false.
Sometime, reviewers or editors will ask you to cite some additional papers in your manuscript. The general rule is to do it except if you really believe it has no relation at all. In that case, be prepared for a longer review process…
In any case, you understand the importance of the review process so if you have the chance to receive an email with a review request, reply swiftly if you are ready to do it and stick to the deadline you have received.