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Q&A: Why is the journal sending my paper for further review when the reviewer has recommended acceptance?

roval - all papers recommended in any given month go at the end of that month to theI have serious problem with my journal again. As I mentioned in the previous questions, I had problems with the final approval process by the editorial board, delay in editorial decision making, and no response to my emails. You have responded to all my questions, and I thank you again. As I mentioned before, my paper has been revised twice (minor revisions) and the referee had recommended my paper to be published, but had also recommended further reviewing. Then I revised it according to reviewer's comments, and the status changed to "decision in process" for more than a month. I asked the journal about its status and the journal replied: "Your revised paper has been recommended for acceptance. Once a paper is recommended, it has to go to the Editorial Board for their final app Editors. The approval process then takes a further four weeks. You will, therefore, receive a formal decision from us by the end of January." After this answer and no response even after the end of January, I e-mailed the journal several times, but got no reply. Finally, the journal replied to me as follows: "When looking at your revised paper, the Editors decided that the report we received was not sufficient enough in order for a final decision to be reached. We have, therefore, secured a second referee for your paper. As soon as we have received the report and a decision has been reached we will communicate this to you." I was very surprised with this response. This means that the journal is not satisfied with its own referee's comments, and after taking such a long time (more than 7 months) the journal decides again to get the paper reviewed by a second referee and again go through the editorial decision. I feel this journal is using a recycle tiring process so I cannot investigate about my paper's status and would like to annoy me and finally reject it. Do you agree with my opinion about this journal? (This journal is an Elsevier one). Should I withdraw my paper and send to another journal? What should I do with this journal?!!!

1 Answer

Unfortunately, journals have a very long drawn out process which can get extremely tiring for the authors. However, I don’t think the journal is doing this purposely to annoy you. Journal editors and reviewers are extremely busy people, and they would have rejected your paper outright rather than spend so much time just to test your patience and then reject it. They have definitely seen some value in the paper, and are trying their best to make it publication worthy.

Even if the referee recommends acceptance, the final decision rests with the EIC or editorial board. It is perfectly normal for the journal to send a paper for a second or third round of review, particularly since the referee has recommended further reviewing. The journal has clearly mentioned that “the report we received was not sufficient enough in order for a final decision to be reached.” This means that the peer review report was not very strong. It is quite common for editors to send the journal for an additional review if they feel that the previous review was weak or not detailed enough.

I don’t think it is advisable to withdraw your paper at this stage. For one, this is a reputable journal. The value of your paper will definitely be high if you publish in this journal. Secondly, the journal has already spent a lot of time and resources on your paper. This is an indication that they have seen potential in your paper. The referee has also given a recommendation to accept. All these are positive signs and indicate a possibility of acceptance. Additionally, if you withdraw and submit to another journal, the whole peer review process will start again, and it might take another 7 months or even more. Also, the paper might be rejected after peer review and then you will have to submit to another journal. That way, you will end up losing more time.

I think you should just be patient and continue with this journal. 

Related reading:

Can I withdraw my paper after reviewers have been assigned?


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