Q: Why has the status changed from "Under Review" to "Awaiting SE Recommendation" within 3 weeks of submission?
I submitted my manuscript on 23rd August. Within a couple of days, the status changed to “Under Review.” Today, 14.09.19, the status changed to "Awaiting SE Recommendation." Please explain it.
Manuscript statuses can vary from journal to journal. However, in this case, “Under Review” means that the paper was picked up for an initial review of the quality of the paper and of a match with the journal’s scope. “Awaiting SE Recommendation” means that it went to a Section Editor (SE) of the journal for checking the match with that section of the journal. It seems that the Associate Editor (AE) felt it could fit into a particular section of the journal. I am not entirely clear about the wording of the latest status. However, it most probably means the SE has communicated their decision to the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) – who will be making the final decision.
Given the speed with which the manuscript statuses have changed, there may be either of two possibilities. It may be desk-rejected or they may ask you to make some revisions before they can consider it for a peer review. In case of the former, you may consider submitting it to another journal after checking for a scope match with that journal.