Peering over the Transom

20 February 2024

The journal to which, on 23 January, I submitted my paper on Sraffa declares that it aims to render an initial decision after four weeks, but the reported status of my paper remains at Submitted to Journal. I have therefore sent a query. If I have got no response, or the equivalent of a mere Oops!, then some time on Friday (the day of the mensiversary) I will halt the submission and submit to a different journal.

Right now, my best guess is that the publisher's submission system has failed. But possibly the chief editor has made some mistake; or, possibly, the paper may be moving through the review process at about the regular pace, but the editors don't make a practice of logging changes to the status of papers.

Up-Date (2024:02/21): Near the end of 20 February, PST, which would be at about the start of a working day GMT, I received e.mail from the publisher.

Thank you for your email regarding the status of your submission entitled " Mr. Sraffa’s Theory of Price; A Thorough and Critical Examination".

I understand the importance of a swift editorial decision, and work hard to ensure articles are reviewed quickly.

I can confirm that, at present, your submission is undergoing pre-assignment technical checks. This is to ensure that your submission meets the journal's submission requirements, and you will be contacted shortly if any corrections are required.

Once approved, your paper will be assigned to an editor for handling, and you will receive a confirmation email containing an editorial reference.

In the meantime, your patience and understanding are much appreciated.

If I can be of further assistance, please do let me know.

My response was blunt:

It is evident that Elsevier lost track of the submission, and did not notify the principal editor of the journal.

Given this disingenuous response, the submission is hereby cancelled, and not available to be accepted or rejected.

I included the aforementioned principal editor in the CC field of the e.mail.

I acknowledge that most or all of us sometimes drop the ball, certainly I amongst those who do. But the question is of what one then does. The publisher cannot reasonably in a case such as this simply publish the paper without it passing editorial review. What the publisher could do is something such as to waive the open-access fee or the span of time after publication before the author can freely distribute copies.

In any case, I will later load my big spreadsheet of economics journals, and try to choose the next journal to which to submit the article.

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