An anonymous philosopher on the job market, who has several papers under review at journals, writes (from our Suggest a Topic Page):
I am wondering about the etiquette of sending a followup email to the journal editor. Can I simply inform him/her that I am on the market and would really like to hear something on my submission soon because it might seriously influence my chances of getting a job? How long should I wait before sending such an email? 3 months? 6?
I’ll speak from my perspective and hope other editors will chime in. Res Philosophica has a What to Expect page on its website where we outline when authors should expect to hear from us. We send out a brief note after the initial desk review, aiming to do so within three weeks of the initial submission. And then we aim for an initial decision within eight weeks. So we encourage anyone who wishes to to contact the Editorial Manager if they haven’t heard from us after each of those points in the process (three weeks and eight weeks). (Because we use triple anonymous review, the author should not contact the Editor directly.) But I would also encourage authors to contact the Editorial Manager about any question they have during the process.
If the journal has not indicated by when it aims to reach an initial decision, it’s of course still acceptable to contact the Editor (or whomever is appropriate to contact). Some philosophers I know think it acceptable to contact the editor within six weeks, and others eight weeks. I don’t think I would contact earlier than six weeks, myself, absent further considerations. But given the special circumstances, I would think a brief, gentle inquiry would be completely acceptable at six weeks.