Q: What does a manuscript status change from 'Under Review' to 'Reviewers Assigned' mean?

Detailed Question -

I submitted my manuscript to a journal. After one week, the status changed to 'Reviewers Assigned,' and it remained so for one day. After that, it changed to 'Under Review.' However, after 15 days, it again changed to 'Reviewers Assigned.' Now, after three weeks, the status date of the manuscript has changed, but the status remains 'Reviewers Assigned.' What does this mean? Does the status date change mean that the reviewer has added his or her comments?

1 Answer to this question

This status change – back to ‘Under Review’ from ‘Reviewers Assigned’ – is not uncommon and usually means either of two things.

  • The manuscript was assigned to the requisite number of peer reviewers (two or three), but due to various reasons, one or more reviewers declined to review. The reason could be a lack of time or availability, a mismatch with the subject area, or a conflict of interest. In this case, the associate editor (AE) has to look for a reviewer/s again.
  • One or some but not all the reviewers have logged in their comments. The remaining review/s is/are still awaited.

You have mentioned that the status date has changed after three weeks, but the status has remained ‘Reviewers Assigned.’ So, the second possibility seems more likely. However, as it has been overall about 45 days (that is, a month and a half) since submission, you could consider dropping a mail to the editor seeking an update. If you happen to know any peer reviewers in the field, you may also suggest them to the editor, in case lack of reviewers is an issue.

All the best for the next steps…

Incidentally, we have received quite a few queries in the recent past on this reversion of status. You may go through them here.