I have submitted a paper to a journal on June 2017. The corresponding author is my coauthor. The first response of the editor was after a year, June 2018:
Your paper has been sent, consecutively, to four referees.
Of the preceding three, one declined to review it and two never responded to the invitation or to multiple reminders. The fourth one accepted; a report is expected in September .
Since then, the editor disappeared. No notice at all, neither in the positive, nor in the negative. Obviously we tried to contact him again multiple times (approximately every two-three months) through the journal's platform. No response at all. We sent countless emails to the editor, either via the platform or through his personal email (my coauthor knows him in person). No response at all. We tried to contact the chief editor. No response at all.
In a few days, it will be exactly two years since the submission: this is an incredible amount of time, especially since we absolutely don't know what is the motivation for this delay.
What shall we do?
[I'm not posting this on academia, since this is a paper in Mathematics; but feel free to migrate the discussion elsewhere if you feel like so]
Unfortunately I am unable to comment as I lack sufficient reputation.
- Yes, "consecutively" means exactly that 3 people in a row refused to referee the paper; the fourth accepted and then disappeared since June 2018.
- The editor-in-chief should be aware of what's going on, more so because we wrote him an email two weeks ago or so. No answer.
- The journal is a pretty good and reputable one. At least until I spread this voice.
- My coauthor has nothing against me if I reveal the name of the journal: it's JoA https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-algebra