Q: My paper status has changed from “Undergoing Initial Checking” to “Under Review”. What does this mean?

Detailed Question -

When I submitted my manuscript, the status was “Undergoing Initial Checking” on ScholarOne. A day later, the status changed to “Under Review”. What does it mean?

1 Answer to this question

Firstly, statuses and what they mean may differ from journal to journal. Generally, the submission status “Undergoing Initial Checking” is a step in the publication process where the editorial office will check if the submitted manuscript meets the basic journal formatting requirements and that the manuscript is within the scope of the journal. If the manuscript passes this check, it will then be assigned to a handling editor who will initiate the peer review process by assigning 2-3 potential reviewers to review the manuscript. The status “Under Review” indicates that the peer review process is ongoing, and could take up to 2-3 months to complete.

However, considering that the status of your paper changed to "Under Review" within a day, it’s possible that "Under Review" in this case still refers to the initial editorial screening. The editor will have to evaluate your manuscript, find reviewers, send out reviewer invitations, and acceptance emails from the reviewers before the status can change to 'Under Review.' A day seems too short a time for all these to be done. Hence, it’s possible that it is still being reviewed by the editor currently, and has not moved to the peer review stage.

You could also check if there is a section on timeframes on the website of the journal where you have submitted your paper. However, if the status does not change even after two months, you can perhaps send a polite inquiry to the Editor requesting a status update.

In case you want to know more about journal statuses, we would recommend this handbook: Keep Calm And Wait: A Guide To Understanding Journal Statuses

We hope this helped. All the very best for your research!