Q: Is it normal for the status to remain unchanged at 'Ready for Editor's Decision' for more than one month?
I submitted a manuscript to Scientific Reports in December 2019. The current status is ‘Ready for Editor’s Decision/Reports Received,’ and this has been unchanged since May 2020. I sent an email to the editor this March to inquire about the latest status, but can I again contact the editor?
Firstly, the dual status, a combination of ‘Reports Received’ and ‘Ready for Editor’s Decision,’ is a bit unusual. Usually, the first status happens before the second. Between the two statuses, the associate editor (AE) sees the peer review comments, makes a decision based on the comments, and then communicates their decision to the Editor-in-Chief (EiC), who makes the final decision. This dual status could be one reason for the delay, indicating that the manuscript is currently somewhere between the two statuses.
Also, we are presently seeing that the EiC decision is taking a while across journals and geographies. This could be due to the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on academic publishing (apart from other fields, of course). Plus, there may be additional work demands on EiCs around this time of the year. This is a bit before the academic year start. So, they could be closing some tasks for the previous year, especially those that were affected due to the crisis. Having said that, this is a Nature journal. Being such a big publisher, they would no doubt have mechanisms in place to deal with even the biggest challenges. In fact, your manuscript has so far been progressing along quite steadily on the journal side.
Coming to your exact query, you say you had last written to the editor in March, that is, before the status changed to the present one and over two months ago. So, it’s quite fine to contact the editor now. In the mail, if there is an academic dependency for your manuscript, you may mention that too.
You may also find the following related resources helpful:
- Could COVID-19 be affecting how long my manuscript remains in the 'Decision in Process' status?
- How long does a paper remain at the 'Decision in Process' status?
- A guide to understanding journal statuses [Handbook]
All the best for the next steps!