Q: What's the prognosis for my manuscript status?

Detailed Question -

My manuscript status changed from 'Under Review' to 'Awaiting Decision.' It was fast-tracked. It was one week in the 'Under Review' category. How long should I hold my breath for? What's the prognosis here??

1 Answer to this question

We can feel your anxiety. :-) However, you haven't mentioned the statuses prior to 'Under Review.' So, we are not sure if this refers to a peer review or the internal review, as the meaning of this status varies according to the journal. One week is usually too short for a peer review, though it can happen in rare cases. So, this is probably an internal review, as they may have had an expert in the subject on board. However, this could also simply refer to the review by the associate editor (AE).

'Awaiting Decision' (aka 'Decision in Process' for most journals) means that the AE has made their decision and communicated this to the Editor-in-Chief (EiC), who makes the final decision. As you asked for a prognosis, this most probably means that the AE's decision is a reject. :-( However, there may be hope in case the EiC decides to rescind/overturn the AE's decision or suggests that you submit to another journal within the same publisher (in case this is a big publisher). So, you see, there are still various possibilities.

You should know the EiC/journal's decision in a week or so. Until then, to reduce your anxiety a bit, you may decide to look up this somewhat aptly titled handbook: Keep calm and wait: A guide to understanding journal statuses :-)

In case it's unfortunately a reject, as you know, you may make changes based on any feedback you receive from here and submit to another journal. All the best either way!