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Last november I submitted a paper to a journal. I have been tracking the status of the review rather regularly (quite obsessively actually) and I have noticed that 3 weeks ago it went from awaiting AE decision back to reviewer assignment. After a couple of days, it went to reviewer selection. Now, it has gone back to reviewer assignment yet again.

I find this quite curious and if anyone has any idea what could be going on, please share it here! I suspect there's a conflict of opinion initially and then the third reviewer rejected reviewing so now they are back to finding a third reviewer? Any help is appreciated.

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    Probably best to simply not obsess so much. Work on other things and let the journal process happen, unless the process begins to take an unusually long time for your field in which case see other Q&A here for how to proceed. See also academia.stackexchange.com/questions/55665/…
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 18, 2020 at 22:22
  • Yeh I shouldn't haha :)
    – sunnydk
    Feb 18, 2020 at 22:23
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    Just chill, hit the gym, go for a walk. Nothing you can do about it anyway. Fingers crossed :-)
    – Cape Code
    Feb 19, 2020 at 19:19

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Nobody except the editor in charge of the paper can possibly know. We can all -- and you can -- speculate what the editor may have been doing, but none of us will actually know. If you must know what is going on, write to the editor. If you are only curious but do not need to know, then practice patience and wait for the outcome.

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  • excellent advice about practicing patience haha :)
    – sunnydk
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:35
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Your explanation of a conflict in reviewer opinions is certainly possible. Also possible is that the reviews weren't very good: perhaps some of them are superficial, perhaps the reviewer said "I can review X portion of the paper but not Y portion", etc.

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  • thats a good shout!
    – sunnydk
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:35

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