Q: Does a 'Decision in process' status after two months of the 'With Editor' status mean desk rejection?

Detailed Question -

I submitted my paper on March 31. It was 'With Editor' till the first week of June, that is, for two months. When I inquired through email, they replied that it's under review and I would know the outcome soon. After 15 days, the status is 'Decision in process.' Does that mean the paper is DESK REJECTED??

2 Answers to this question

Short answer: Not necessarily. :-)

Long answer: Please allow us to get back on Monday - after the weekend. We responded for now as you seemed quite anxious, but we shall get back with a more deliberated response on Monday. Thanks for your patience. :-)


Hello Albino – Welcome to the forum! And here’s the longer response as promised. :-)

Firstly, it’s a bit unusual that the manuscript was in the ‘With Editor’ status for so long. This status typically means the initial check by the associate editor (AE). The AE goes through the manuscript to check the novelty of the study, the quality of the writing, and at times, for adherence to the guidelines, match with the journal’s scope, and plagiarism. If satisfied on these counts, they send the paper for a peer review.

At times though, the journal/AE may not send the manuscript for an external peer review. This is in case they have subject area experts within the journal itself. Because the manuscript was with the AE for so long, it may mean that this journal performed the peer review internally.

At other times, it may simply mean that it was with the AE for so long because they had many other submissions to go through or some other challenge. However, as they replied that it was ‘under review,’ to summarize, it probably means the journal did the peer review internally.

Now, ‘Decision in process’ means that the AE has made a decision on the manuscript and has communicated this decision to the Editor-in-Chief (EiC), who will make the final decision on the manuscript. This may mean a rejection or it may mean a requirement to revise and resubmit. So, as mentioned previously, you may have reason to hope.

As you just wrote to them and the status has only recently changed, you may wait for some time to know the final decision. In the worst case that it’s a rejection, as you may know, you may make some changes to the manuscript as necessary and submit to another journal. To save time, it may help to send other journals a presubmission inquiry.

Hope that helps. And all the best for whatever’s next!

Based on the points discussed above, you may find it worthwhile to go through the following resources: