I submitted a manuscript to an Elsevier journal. The status changed in 2 days from Editor Invited to under review and I got an email saying that "your paper will be handled by X (editor's name)". When I checked the Editorial Board, I saw that the handling editor of my manuscript is indeed a managing Editor of that journal.

My question-Is it normal that a managing editor handles a paper instead of an associate editor?

The possible reason I can imagine that all the associate editors are away from the content of my manuscript and that the managing editor is somehow closed to that content.

But, why then the status editor invited displayed initially if the managing editor would handle my manuscript. Of course, there is another possibility that my manuscript fell into the hands of another managing editor who then invited the managing editor who is handling my paper.

Note: I initially given a name of an associate editor during the submission, though that AE's expertise area was away from my manuscript content.

Any comments about the possible reason that my manuscript is being handled by a managing editor rather than an associate editor.

  • 4
    There's no rule against anyone on the editorial board handling papers. Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:24
  • @DavidKetcheson, ok. Thanks
    – learner
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:25
  • 4
    These emails are often automatically generated by the journal's manuscript-handling system. Sometimes they do not quite reflect what is actually happening 'behind the scenes'. The only way to be sure who is making decisions on your manuscript is to wait and see who signs the decision letter.
    – avid
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:27
  • In particular, a journal might wish authors to send correspondence (most of which is routine requests for updates) to the managing editor rather than the associate editor.
    – avid
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:32
  • @avid, ok thanks. But my question- Is it normal that managing editor handles a paper ?
    – learner
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


What is "normal"? It probably isn't common. It probably occurs with some regularity if the managing editor has some special interest in the topic of the paper. They might be more than just an admin.

I wouldn't read anything in to it now, but you might get more information as the process goes on.

Possible? Yes. Normal? It depends on the qualifications of the various people. Common? probably not. People are busy enough with their defined functions.

  • ok. Thank you very much
    – learner
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 14:44
  • 2
    Quite indeed. I'm the Editor-in-Chief of a journal and there are papers I'm interested in. Sometimes I assign myself as the handling editor, and sometimes I assign them to others to handle and ask them to pick me as a reviewer. All combinations happen, and I think that's totally normal. Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 14:56

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