Q: What does it mean if the status is 'Required Reviews Completed' but I'm still receiving emails stating that a reviewer has agreed to review the manuscript?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a manuscript to an Elsevier journal on September 2. On September 21, I received an email from the editor stating the following.

The status of your paper has changed to ‘Required Reviews Completed.’ If the current reviews conflict with another or are not detailed enough, I may need to seek the opinion of another reviewer. For this reason, the status of your paper may change back to ‘Under Review.’

Presently (September 20), the status is still ‘Required Reviews Completed,’ while I’m continuing to receive emails stating that "a reviewer has agreed to review your manuscript." What does this mean?

1 Answer to this question

Hello Taban – Welcome to the forum! So, it’s great that the editor has kept you informed of what they might be considering with regard to your paper. As the editor sent you such a specific mail, it seems they might be thinking of getting another opinion on the paper. Which might explain why they haven’t got back to you with a decision for the past 10 days, and may also explain the other mails you’ve been receiving. Perhaps they’ve sent (or have been sending) your manuscript to a new reviewer, and it’s taking some time to finalize the additional reviewer.

The best way to calm your concerns would be to write to the editor. As they wrote you such a specific mail earlier, they are likely to respond to your query, addressing any concerns you have.

Now, in case you need help with crafting the mail, you may find some of the templates in this handbook useful: A practical handbook of templates for communicating with the journal

Apart from that, you may also wish to refer to the following resources for more insights on journal decision-making:

Hope that helps. All the best for whatever’s next!