Q: Why did the status change from "Under Review" to "Ready for Decision" and then back to "Under review"?
The status of my submission changed from "Under Review" to "Ready for Decision" and then back to "Under review.” How long does the review take?
I think this situation occurs when there are conflicts between reviewers' comments (usually 2 reviewers) on one manuscript. The editor has invited third reviewer to be sure about his/her decision. And, I am sure no one knows the time it takes for third reviewer to complete his task. Now you should wait for editor to come up with adequate evaluation, considering third referee comments.
In manuscript submission, the status “Under review” indicates that your manuscript has cleared the editorial screening and has been sent for peer review. Once the review is complete, the manuscript is sent back to the journal and the status changes to “Ready for decision.” Now the journal editor can make a decision on your manuscript based on the reviewers’ comments.
However, if the editor is not satisfied with the review, he/she may send your manuscript for an additional review. Possible reasons for this could be that the reviewers have conflicting views or one or two reviews might be weak or unsatisfactory. The editor may be able to make a decision after the additional review is complete. This process can take quite some time as reviewers are busy researchers themselves. So it is quite common for the review to last for a couple of months.
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