Q: When is reference checking done during the submission process?
I have sent my Manuscript to a Springer journal, it immediately went under review after 1 day. After 3 weeks the status date changed but the status still remains 'Under Review'. However, the side menu now shows reference checking result which was not available previously. I want to know when exactly the reference checking process is done because it was not done on the initial submission. Does this mean that the reviewer/editor has reached a decision and thats why they have enabled the reference checking tool?
Thank you for your question. Usually, the reference checking tool is run at the initial stage before the file goes out to peer reviewers. This check falls under editorial assessment. It is possible that this check happened at the start, but the results have only now been made available (of course, this depends on the type of submission system). Reference checking usually does not affect peer review in any way, so this can't be considered an indicator of whether the review is completed. You can write to the journal to enquire about the current status of the manuscript.