- Manuscript Status
Q: Why does my manuscript's status keep changing from "awaiting reviewer selection" to "awaiting reviewer assignment"?
I resubmitted a major revision approximately a month ago to a social science journal. I am curious as to why the status of the manuscript regularly changes between 'awaiting reviewer selection' and 'awaiting reviewer assignment'. This has happened several times. Any thoughts?
Asked on 05 Mar, 2019
The status “awaiting reviewer selection” implies that the editor is looking for peer reviewers for your paper. In case of a revised submission, usually the paper is sent back to the same set of reviewers who originally reviewed it. However, in your case, it seems that the editor is trying to look for new reviewers for your manuscript. There could be two possible reasons for this. Perhaps the editor wants a fresh perspective on your paper and is, therefore, planning to send it to a new set of reviewers. The other reason could be that the reviewers who originally reviewed your paper are unavailable at the moment.
The status changes to "awaiting reviewer assignment" when the editor has selected reviewers for your paper and has sent out review invitations. Once the requisite number of reviewers accept the invitation, the status will change to "under review." However, if one or more reviewers decline the review invitation, the editor will have to look for new reviewers and send out invitations all over again.
This process continues until all the reviewers have accepted the invitation. In short, the switching of the status repeatedly from “awaiting reviewer selection” to “awaiting reviewer assignment” and back implies that the editor is having a hard time finding reviewers for your paper.
- What does a status change from "Awaiting reviewer score" back to "Awaiting reviewer assignment" mean?
- What does a change from "Awaiting editorial decision" to "Awaiting reviewer scores" mean?
- Does a status change from "Awaiting reviewer selection" to "Awaiting ED recommendation" imply desk rejection?
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Answered by Editage Insights on 15 Mar, 2019
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Submitted my paper. Now what?
Feb 18, 2022 | Scholarly publishing
There is something of an air of mystery as to what actually happens to your manuscript once you’ve pressed that “submit” button. It seemingly goes off into cyberspace and you are left playing the waiting game.
These days, if you’ve submitted to a journal via an online submission system, you will be able to track its progress to some extent as you will generally be able to see what stage it’s at. The names of these stages can, however, seem fairly vague and almost worse than no information at all.
So let’s translate them. There are many different submission systems and the stages a manuscript goes through during peer review does differ system to system (and, indeed, journal to journal), so for the purposes of this post we’re going to look at the most common stages of the most common submission site: ScholarOne (formally Manuscript Central).
Initially your manuscript will go through stages such as “Awaiting Admin Checklist” and/or “Awaiting Editor Assignment” depending on how new submissions are initially checked on the journal. These stages tend to be moved through fairly swiftly as they are just the editorial team checking that your submission is suitable for peer review and then deciding which of the editors will be responsible for it during the process.
Awaiting Reviewer Selection
This is the first stage of the peer-review process and your manuscript will be here until the assigned Editor has selected some suitable experts to invite to review.
Once enough reviewers have been selected, the manuscript will move on to the next stage. If only one reviewer agrees to review and all the others decline the invitation, however, your manuscript may well return to this stage while the Editor selects more. So if you log in to check on progress several weeks after submission and find your manuscript at this stage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that no action has been taken.
Awaiting Reviewer Invitation
This means that potential reviewers have been selected, but have yet to be invited. Manuscripts quite often return to this stage if not enough of the invited reviewers accepted the invitation so further invitations need to be sent. It’s quite common for editors to select a lot of reviewers, but only invite a few at a time.
Awaiting Reviewer Assignment
This rather ambiguous stage is when reviewers have been invited, but we are waiting for the required number to agree to review. In other words, at this point, the ball is squarely in the reviewers’ court!
In an ideal world, enough of the invited reviewers will agree to review and your manuscript will move on to the next stage. In reality, however, it is quite normal for invited reviewers to be unavailable and for your manuscript to return to one of the earlier stages a couple of times.
Awaiting Reviewer Scores
This is the stage that the editorial team will be striving to get your manuscript to as swiftly as possible. If your manuscript is at this stage, then enough experts have agreed to read and evaluate it and we just need to wait for the reviewers to return their comments so that a decision can be taken.
Once through this stage, your manuscript will move on to a stage such as “Awaiting Recommendation” and/or “Awaiting Decision” and it generally won’t be long before a decision is sent to you.
So That’s It?
That’s it. There are, of course, many things that can cause delays to the process, but the majority of manuscripts move from one stage to the next fairly swiftly.
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1. Awaiting Reviewer Selection
1.1. click the button “awaiting reviewer selection”.
1.2. Click the icon “√” to process the manuscript
1.3. Select Select Reviewers
1.3.1. Audit Trail: manuscript review records and Email delivery record
Manuscript Information: manuscript details
Tips: When browsing other pages, you can directly click the button “Select Reviewers” in the upper right corner to return to the certain page.
1.3.2. PDF : for peer review
Supplemental Files: with main document (without authors information) and title page (without authors information).
1.3.3. Reviews required to make decision:
126.96.36.199. Generally, two review comments are required. Of course, if necessary, you can also change the number from 2 to 1 or 3, etc.
188.8.131.52. When you change this number from 2 to 0, you can choose yourself as a reviewer.
1.3.4. Create Reviewer Account
Fill in the reviewer's email, first and last name, and then click the button ”Created an Add” to create a reviewer account and add it to the reviewer list.
1.4. The Scholarone review system provides several ways to query reviewers
1.4.1. Quick Search
1.4.2. Related Papers Search
1.4.4. Advanced Search
2. Awaiting Reviewer Invitation
2.1. click the option“awaiting reviewer invitation”.
2.2. Click the icon “√” to invitate reviewers
2.3. Click the button “Invite All” to process the manuscript
3. Awaiting Reviewer Assignment
In the progress section, you can view the number of reviewers Agreed and Returned
4. Awaiting AE Recommendation
4.1. click the button “awaiting ae recommendation”.
4.2. Click the icon “√” to process the manuscript
4.3. Make Recommendation
You can make a choice based on the Reviewers comments on the right and fill in the Comments to theAuthor in the corresponding area Then click “Submit” to submit your recommendation.
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Awaiting reviewer selection for more than one month?
I have a paper under review and the status is still "awaiting reviewer selection" for more than one month. The journal is based in Europe. Is it because of the summer break in Europe? I wonder if I should wait or withdraw the paper.
I sent an email to two people in the editorial board, but I have never got back from them. lol
Try emailing the managing editor rather than the editorial board. ME is responsible for keeping track of papers. One month is long, but it's not unheard of. Avoid being pushy at this point.
Why do people even keep checking the status? It doesn't make it move faster. Maybe they assigned a reviewer and the reviewers are on break. Wait 4 months and then send an inquiry if you have to.
4 months is way too long to wait. 2 months max, then check in with them.
Could be the break. Could be they just didn't update the system. Could be a journal not on top of stuff.
Depending what you mean by editorial board, you might have been emailing people who don't even have access to that system. The appropriate person to email is the (usually) graduate student who manages submissions, not any of the editors.
Also they could be having trouble getting people to agree to review.
Editor here. At least two of the common review systems show "awaiting reviewer selection" if there is ANY reviewer invitation outstanding. That does not necessarily mean your paper is actually waiting on reviewers to be chosen. It often means we asked 6 people, 3 agreed, 2 said no, and 1 never responded to the request. Do not email to ask about this. It's not helpful. It's most often a system glitch.
And editorial board members have nothing at all to do with the reviewer selection process at most journals. Emailing them makes no sense in any scenario.
Really your sure?
^ Your incredulity is well placed. These days more accurate numbers are more like 12 asks, 3 agree, 5 said no, and 4 never responded.
I’ve seen nearly 30 asks on a single paper.
Markup: a blockquote code em strong ul ol li .
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- 17 September, 2019
- Peer Review Process
Navigating peer review: Sitting and waiting – What can you do? What should you do?
Congratulations! You’ve submitted your article to a leading international journal (hopefully with a high impact factor ) and have checked your author area within their online submission system to see that you’re now ‘awaiting reviewer scores’. Most online systems give authors the opportunity to check on the status of submissions : it’s a good idea to log in regularly to make sure that your article is moving through the peer review process . You will see little messages like ‘awaiting editorial approval’, ‘awaiting reviewer scores’, ‘awaiting editorial board comments’ and ‘decision pending’ as your article wends its way through this process. Eventually, an editor will make a decision and you will get your paper back with comments from peer reviewers .
Should you just sit, wait and do nothing as an author as this process runs its course?
No. One of the most common kinds of questions that we are asked during our paper writing and publishing workshops is along the lines of ‘I submitted a paper to a journal three months ago and I’ve heard nothing. The system still says ‘awaiting reviewer scores’. What should I do?’. Publication speed is very important to you as an author for obvious reasons: you must write to the editor if you have no news back about peer review and a reasonable amount of time has passed.
What constitutes a ‘reasonable amount of time’?
Well, the average length of time across the publishing industry from submission to online publication is three months or 90 days. We recommend writing to your journal editor if one month has passed and your paper appears ‘stuck’ in the submission system. Publishers are also interested in speed of publication, and many will use analytics to track this by journal and sometimes even by editor – so you are not the only one in this process with a vested interest!
Writing to journal editors about your paper
Authors, especially young researchers, are often nervous about writing directly to journal editors. Don’t be: this is your paper, your research, your career, and your future. [ Get in touch with our team at Charlesworth and we can provide you with short templates for writing these kinds of emails.]
Some quick tips:
- Be polite but direct when writing to a journal editor . What’s the issue that needs to be addressed?
- Make sure your email is positive: what solution are you proposing to the issue?
For example, let’s imagine that your research paper is stuck ‘awaiting reviewer comments’ and two months have passed with no news from the journal.
‘Dear Editor: I am writing on behalf of my co-authors to enquire about the status of our paper submitted on x date, entitled y’. We see that this article is ‘awaiting reviewer comments’ and more than two months have passed: we have therefore taken the opportunity to suggest the names of some additional colleagues who would be suitable peer reviewers’.
Don’t forget to include two or three additional names and email addresses at the bottom of your short message.
It’s always a good idea to write and interact directly with journal editors. As we’ve discussed before, they are very often also busy academic researchers, running their groups, supervising students, teaching and, also, managing journals. Papers get forgotten about, reviewers are not chased. You must take the initiative as an author : editors will appreciate and understand this! Don’t be pushy. Don’t be aggressive. Always be polite, constructive and offer solutions to save the editor time .
Once, in one of our author workshops , we were asked: ‘my paper has been in review with a journal for more than a year and I’ve heard nothing. What should I do?’. It’s your career. Please don’t let this happen to you!
Read next (third) in series: Navigating peer review: How to respond to peer reviewer comments – Minor revisions
Read previous (first) in series: Navigating peer review: Making your initial submission
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