Q: How long does a paper remain at the 'Decision in Process' status?
I have submitted one study to an Elsevier journal around the end of November. The status changed to 'Under review' for 3 weeks and then turned to 'Under Editor Evaluation' around Christmas. On Jan 5, it turned again to 'Decision in Process' and now it is still stuck at this stage for nearly 2 weeks. Can I anticipate rejection? How long should I wait for this stage?
Your paper seems to be progressing quite smoothly and quickly. Many journals take months to complete peer review. You are lucky that the peer review of your paper was done in three weeks despite the holiday season. Once the editor has evaluated your manuscript, it could take a few weeks for the final decision. There is no reason to think that your paper will be rejected considering the fact that the editor and reviewers have been quite expeditious. Even if the decision in process status takes a couple of weeks more, you have nothing to worry about. Sometimes, the editor needs to take the help of the editorial board to come to a decision if he or she is unsure about a paper. If this is the case, the decision could be delayed by another couple of weeks. If the status remains the same till the end of January, you can write to the editor. Till then, you have to be patient and keep up your hopes. Good luck!
If it's a Mathematics journal then this high possibility is that the paper is going to be rejected. As soon as the editor invites reviewer, the status changes to "Under review". It does not mean that it is under review. Even if the invited reviewer does not reply or agree to still the same status remains. Now after couple of weeks, still if editor does not find any reviewer who agrees to review the paper then editor decides to reject the paper and status changes to 'Under Editor Evaluation' and then 'Decision in Process' respectively. This is a common scenario in Mathematics though I don't know whether it's common in other Sciences or not.