Q: My manuscript's status changed from "With editor" directly to "Decision in process" and it remains so for over a month. Why?
My submitted manuscript was showing 'With Editor' status for 20 days and it directly changed to 'Decision in Process' without 'Under Review'. Now it has been in 'Decision in Process' for more than 1 month. Why is it taking more than a month for desk rejection?
Normally, a direct change from the "With editor" status to a "Decision in process" status does imply a desk rejection. Once a paper is submitted to a journal, it goes through an initial screening process, which is done by the editor. Only a paper that clears this initial screening is sent for peer review; else, it is rejected.
A paper is usually desk rejected if the study does not match the scope of the journal or if the quality is not as per the journal's standards. Another reason why a paper can be desk rejected is if it does not meet the requirements mentioned in the author guidelines, such as formatting, reference style, etc. In the latter cases, the author is often asked to make the required corrections and submit the paper again, after which it is sent for peer review. So it is possible that the handling editor is now evaluating the manuscript once again to decide the next step. So do not lose hope. Sometimes, even though it looks like your paper might be desk rejected, you might be asked to revise and resubmit it as a new submission. All the best!