Q: What does "awaiting final decision" after "Awaiting Reviewer Recommendations" mean?

Detailed Question -

Dear Team, 
First, thank you for running such a stunning forum. I submitted a manuscript to a Sage Journal almost 50 days ago. The status of the paper changed several times. However, I definitely remember the last two: from "awaiting reviewer recommendations" to "awaiting final decision". Interestingly, it is/was awaiting "reviewer" (not reviewers- in a plural form) recommendations. I am not sure what it means; that use of a singular noun compel me to hunch it has been with the Editor in Chief for the whole period (I acknowledge I am not sure). Your thought and advice are highly appreciated.

1 Answer to this question

Firstly, we’re delighted to know that you find the Insights Q&A forum useful. Thank you for making our day! 

Now, coming to your question, it appears to be a good sign that your manuscript is moving ahead in the peer review process, that too at a reasonable pace. “Awaiting final decision” means that now, the manuscript is indeed with the Editor-in-Chief, who is in the process of coming to a decision of acceptance with major/minor revisions (fingers crossed for this!), revise and resubmit, or rejection on the basis of peer review feedback.

Please do not be alarmed about the singular form in “awaiting reviewer recommendations.” In English, a singular modifier is used when the noun (in this case, “reviewer”) is used as an adjective, even when it refers to more than one item (e.g., “antibiotic resistance” rather than “antibiotics resistance”). In other words, if you move a plural noun to the position of modifier, it is usually then made singular. For example, it is correct to say “I am awaiting reviewer responses.” Other ways of putting this are with the possessive form (e.g., “I am awaiting the reviewers’ responses”) or even with the plural form, albeit with some restructuring (e.g., “I am awaiting responses from the reviewers”). We hope you get a positive decision from the editor soon! See also:

You may also find this handbook useful: Keep Calm And Wait: A Guide To Understanding Journal Statuses