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Michael Walschots

I've been in a similar situation, and I decided to withdraw my paper: the editors were taking forever (over two years in my case), and after asking them it was even revealed to me that one of the editors had delayed the volume themselves by taking too long to finish their own paper. I'm early career, so I need the publication and decided to withdraw. I decided to revise the paper for a journal instead (which required lots of work) but it landed in a good place, so the decision was worth it. Depending on the publisher of the edited volume (i.e. maybe keep it there if it's OUP or CUP), I might withdraw in your shoes too. I agree that being professional is of utmost importance, so maybe touch base with editors and explain the situation, ask for a realistic timeline, and if you don't like how it looks, withdraw. If they're reasonable people, they'll understand.


With edited collections this is not a long time. I know it is not a great situation if you NEED a publication now. But volumes take a long time. I have contributed to a number of them, and I have edited a few as well. I think if you have signed a contract you should honour it. If I had a contributor pull out on me - and I have - then I would never ask them (or invite them) for anything again. The exception would be if their mother was dying ... and they could not honour a deadline.


If this is for an edited volume, this sounds like standard timing (assuming thr piece has been accepted). Editors are often waiting for ages for the authors to contribute, the reviewers to do their reviews etc and the whole book is held up in the meantime.

If it’s a special issue of a journal that’s different.


Edited volumes can be held up for all kinds of reasons other than the fault of the editors (authors, reviewers, publishers, etc); this timeframe isn't very uncommon in my experience.

If I were in your shoes, I'd simply upload the completed paper to my website and put it on my CV (describing it as something like "forthcoming in [volume] pending reviews"). There's a presumption that contributions to edited volumes will be published if decently competent, so having a finished draft should look almost as good as having the publication itself from the perspective of hiring committees. (This is certainly how I and I think most of my colleagues would assess CVs).

The situation is very different for papers that have been submitted to a journal for peer review; there I'd be tempted to threaten withdrawal after maybe six months, if editors aren't responsive to emails or inquiries.

Grinning and Bearing

I'd ask for a confirmation from the editors that they intend to publish the piece; for all professional purposes, this makes it count as a publication.

As long as you can get that, you should not withdraw, and indeed it would be seriously and unambiguously wrong to do so.

Paul Carron

As others have said, it's really not uncommon for edited collections to take several years from start to finish. I had one that developed out of a conference that took 4 years from the time of the conference to publication. I left it in because the editor had a lot of experience and was confident it would get through. I really needed it sooner - I received tenure in the meantime but would have felt a little more confident if that piece was already out. If I thought that I really needed it I would have pulled it and send it to a journal with fast turnaround times.

I would leave it unless there are extraordinary circumstances OR your tenure deadline is fast approaching, but in the latter case do be aware that the editor might not take too kindly to the withdrawal.

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