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Does the paper that was accepted by the editor and transferred to the reviewers not mean that the paper got the final acceptance? Or can the reviewers still reject the paper?

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  • I think you have something backwards. It is editors who accept or reject. Reviewers only recommend.
    – Buffy
    Jul 22 at 11:30
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    Happy to answer below, but I would worry about your relation with your advisor or senior colleagues if you were unable to ask them about it before going to a collaborative website such as Stack Exchange. You will have many other surprises if you do not learn from an advisor or from your peers!
    – J..y B..y
    Jul 22 at 11:39
  • @Buffy Thanks a lot ..excuse me if there is an issue and the deadline is at the end of this month but I didn't get any response or change to be with a reviewer .. will I get the notification after the deadline because I mail the lead editor without any response
    – Lei
    Jul 22 at 12:22
  • @Jérémy i'm asking here for more experience from who is editor or reviewer .. thanks for your advice
    – Lei
    Jul 22 at 12:24
  • Sorry, I interpreted your use of "accepted" as "accepted for publication" which is usual. Apparently you meant "accepted for review" which is a less common interpretation. But editors initially (usually) only make a superficial determination and pass a "reasonable" paper to a set of reviewers (2-3). They can take weeks to months to complete the review before the editor needs to make a decision about publication.
    – Buffy
    Jul 22 at 13:17

1 Answer 1

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SHORT ANSWER:

The decision of accepting or not a submission for publication does belong to the editor, but accepting the submission for evaluation is not the same as accepting it for publication!

LONGER EXPLANATION:

I guess that the process might be different for each publisher, or even for each journal, but my experience of the process is as follows:

  1. Upon receiving a submission, the editor

    • verifies that its format follows the guidelines of the journal,
    • checks that its content is within the scope of the journal,
    • set-up a list of potential referees for the submission.
    • The submission can be rejected if any of those three criteria is not fulfilled. If all three are fulfilled, the submission is "accepted by the editor", but only in the sense that the evaluation process will be allowed to go on, at the cost of more people's time.
  2. The referees are sent requests to evaluate the submission or to propose alternate reviewers if they are unable to review it. The process can be iterated various times, until a set of willing reviewers is found, or the editor gives up and "rejects" the submission for lack of willing referees.

  3. Once willing referees have been found (ideally, two or three of them) they are sent the submission (ideally, double blind so that to avoid biases), instructions (ideally, an evaluation form) and a deadline to send their evaluation in.

  4. At the deadline, the editor teases the referees who did not send their review (it happens more often than you would think!) until receiving all the reviews, check them for inadequate comments, and forward them to the authors if judged adequate, along with a decision, typically a) refusal, b) conditional acceptance or c) acceptance.

  5. The process can iterate various times with referees asking questions and requesting corrections and the authors answering or complying, until the editor accepts the submission or fails it (most often following the recommendations from the referees, but not always: it is their decision to make!)

I hope it helps! (And anyone willing to correct or extend my description of the process should feel welcome to do so!)

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  • thanks a lot for your answer but excuse me if there is an issue and the deadline is at the end of this month but I didn't get any response or change to be with a reviewer .. will I get the notification after the deadline because I mail the lead editor without any response
    – Lei
    Jul 22 at 12:21
  • the last question please .. if the state changed to be under review that doesn't mean the editor found the reviewers, right?
    – Lei
    Jul 22 at 12:27
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    Yes, you will get an answer from the editor AFTER the deadline for the referees to send their answers (and sometime quite a long time after: as I described above, sometimes the referees send their reports late). I would recommend NOT bothering the editor before one month after the deadline. I had once to recontact the editor every 6 months for several years in a row about the status of a given article (to have the editor answer that he was rejecting the submission since I was asking about it).
    – J..y B..y
    Jul 22 at 12:28
  • When the publisher's website indicates "Under Review", it DOES mean that the editor found some willing referees and sent them the article for review.
    – J..y B..y
    Jul 22 at 12:29

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