From: Dr Nigel Nettheim <N.Nettheim@unsw.edu.au> (55)
Subject: Problem with (human) editor.
This is to seek advice on handling a difficult problem with an
editor (if there's a more appropriate forum for this, please let me
Below is a brief summary. The net result is that I am unable by
any means to find out the status of my accepted paper. An academic can
hardly pursue his or her avocation satisfactorily under these
conditions. I could add that I've presented the paper to local
Societies and it is regarded as a major paper.
Obviously I could simply submit the paper elsewhere, thus joining a
new queue, but as I have invested over two years in the promise of
publication this is not entirely attractive. I am considering bringing
the matter to the attention of the International Society in my field,
but would not be very optimistic about achieving short-term results
from that. Can anyone suggest any other resources for an author in
such a situation? Are editors really a law unto themselves, or can
some pressure to behave ethically be brought to bear upon them? This
would benefit not only myself but also quite likely others with similar
experiences now or in the future.
Thanks, Nigel Nettheim.
E-mail: N.Nettheim@unsw.edu.au Phone: +61-2-868-4005
Home: 204a Beecroft Rd, Cheltenham NSW 2119, Australia
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16th July 1993: I sent my manuscript to the editor of a quite prominent
journal of long standing (not named here). I had previously
published a paper there under his editorship with no problem.
9th November 1993: I phoned him and he said he'd publish the paper
about the middle of 1994 (the journal comes out quarterly, so that
would make it the May issue).
25th April 1994: Having heard nothing further I phoned again and he
told me it will be published sometime in 1994.
8th October 1994: Once more hearing nothing further I phoned on 8th
October and he told me he had started work on my paper, I'd receive
the proofs in December 1994 for printing in January 1995.
11th February 1995: Again having heard nothing further I phoned
him at 10:30 a.m. his time; he said I'd caught him in bed
but he'd get back to me in a few days -- the proofs would
20th February 1995: Still hearing nothing further I wrote him a letter
(*) enclosing a self-addressed envelope.
28th March 1995: I wrote a letter (**) to the publisher.
18th April 1995: I phoned the publisher who said my letter to them
would have been forwarded to the editor. They kindly offered to
forward a fax.
20th April 1995: I sent the fax (***), simply asking for the status of
my paper, but have had no response to it.
12th July 1995: A colleague (himself a former editor) in another
country phoned the editor in an effort to help and was told that my
paper would be published in October or November. It is now too
late for that to happen. The colleague comments: "This is just
unbelievably bizarre. I cannot understand what motive the man may
have in not telling the truth... His behavior is certainly
unethical by any professional standards and should be brought to
the attention of the academic community."
(*) (**) (***) I will gladly make these letters available to anyone who
wishes to see them, but am not including them here to save space.