Q: What does the status 'Awaiting Decision Approval' mean?

Detailed Question -

The status of my manuscript was ‘Under external review’ for four months. Then, it changed to ‘Pending Editor prelim decision.’ The next day, it changed to ‘Awaiting Decision Approval.’ Is this likely to be a rejection – or can I still expect an acceptance?

1 Answer to this question

It’s not always easy to say, especially in this case because the manuscript was in external review for a rather long period. The review could well have been detailed rather than critical. Also, the internal decision has been a prelim(inary) decision. So, apart from a reject, it could be a ‘reject and resubmit’ or even a ‘revise and resubmit.’ You should simply wait for the next update, which should happen fairly soon as the decision is awaiting the EIC’s approval. In the worst case that it’s a reject, as you know, you can revise your manuscript based on the feedback from this journal and submit to another journal. For insights into journal decision-making after peer review and to improve your chances of acceptance, you may go through the following resources:

Hope that helps. All the best for whatever is next!