Q: What is the meaning of 'Decision in Process' after the first round of manuscript review?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a manuscript to a reputed journal using Editorial Manager on February 27, 2020. The status changed to With Editor on February 28 and to Under Review on March 2/3. On March 24, it changed to Required Reviews Completed, and then, changed to Decision in Process. I have not been asked for a revision. Does the status Decision in Process mean or imply a Reject decision in this case?

2 Answers to this question

It is great that you are keeping such a close eye on your submission. You are obviously keen to know its fate, especially with a reputed journal, and no doubt hope the decision is positive. Also, it’s notable that the manuscript has been moving along on the journal side, with regular updates. That it was sent for peer review also means that it matched the scope of the journal and was found to have some scientific merit and novelty.

Coming to your query, Decision in Process typically means that the associate editor (AE) has gone through the peer review comments, arrived at a decision on the manuscript based on the comments, and then conveyed their decision to the Editor-in-Chief (EiC). Note that the EiC typically makes the final decision on the manuscript. So, it may not necessarily mean a Reject presently. The EiC may decide that it needs further revision, and thus, the AE may ask you to revise and resubmit. So, you should wait for the next status to know what’s in store. However, in case they decide to reject the manuscript, as you may know, you could submit to a similar journal, incorporating any feedback from this journal’s review as needed. All the best for the next steps!

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Unfortunately, I received a Rejection letter on 27 March. Surprisingly, there were 8 reviewers invited to this manuscript. Seven of them replied and their comments were sent to me. They were very detailed, but all were amenable to correction, and I could not draw an impression of Rejection, because all of them asked for corrections to improve the manuscript. Accordingly, we believed that there may be a chance for another round of review with re-submission to the same journal. Re-submission was done. However, in a very rapid decision from the associate editor, the status was turned from With editor to Decision in Process in the same day of submission. Also, a Rejection was received and was reasoned by that the revision was not feasible, according to the recommendations of the previous reviewers. Going back from the start of this story, some points looked conflicting. The associate editor found a merit in this manuscript and sent it to review, the comments were recommending corrections in extensive details to be mentioned (which give an impression of needs to correct rather than to reject). Accordingly, I am not sure whether my work received a fair processing. Is there any comment?