I have recently received a decision on a manuscript in the field of mathematics, which I have submitted to a journal a while ago. The reviewers comments were typical: modifying the abstract, ameliorating the language and "what do you think of" type questions. The editor's decision was major revisions and I was given two weeks to resubmit the revised manuscript without mentioning any possibility of requesting an extension.

Is it normal to have this short amount of time to accomplish major revisions?.

Based on the given period, could it be that the editor thinks that the concerns of the reviewers can be addressed in a short amount of time? If that's the case, why not suggest minor revisions instead?

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    I've only seen/heard this type of behavior from publications that are about to appear in a book or proceedings (giving a pretty strong time limit) or from a predatory/lousy publisher like MDPI or worse. Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 9:30
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    As someone else mentions below: it could be that the editor selected "major revisions" because they were applying an overly literal definition. In the jargon of some academic journals, "major revision" is anything that requires some new mathematical content and goes beyond merely fixing typos. So authors can be asked for "major revisions" even when minor changes (in the colloquial sense) would suffice. I've been on the receiving end a couple of times
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 15:34
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    This is probably a publisher specific rule. MDPI (crap publisher) comes to mind. Alternatively, was it a special issue that has a specific deadline? The reviews could have been late, but the deadline hasn't moved. Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 22:59

3 Answers 3


Is it normal to have this short amount of time to accomplish major revisions?

No. In (pure) mathematics, my experience is that typically there is no set time limit on when to submit a minor or major revisions for a journal (exceptions are for special issues). [Edit: Since I posted this, a journal gave me 8 weeks to submit minor revisions so it does happen (see also comments below), and maybe this is becoming more common now.] In any case, 2 weeks is quite short.

I would think about how long you need to revise the paper to your satisfaction, and if you think it's more than a few days, ask the editor about whether this deadline is flexible. Particularly, you can point out wanting time to think about questions the referees suggested.

As for why this is counted as a "major revision" rather than a "minor", I have no idea. Possibly the editor indicated "major" to mean it would go back to the referees again. Possibly they just clicked the wrong option, or they have a different perspective on what minor versus major means.

  • Small data point: I currently have a paper submitted to a reputable journal where I received feedback from referees in early April and was given until the end of September to "resubmit" a revised version.
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 15:31
  • I was given a 2 week time limit for minor revisions from the last journal I published in. Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 22:42
  • - (actually I don't think they used the term major/minor, we inferred that from the language Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 22:48
  • I think I've gotten a deadline for a revision before, but maybe only once, and I think it was more than 2 weeks--I can't remember where, but it wasn't too recent. Yemon, David: has this happened often for you?
    – Kimball
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 1:33

I can't explain such a short window for a journal, unlike a conference. I'd guess that the editor is thinking of a slot in a particular issue that your article would fit if you act quickly. The example would be a special issue that has a firm deadline.

Two weeks might also be reasonable for a very short paper, though you don't describe yours in that way.

But, normal journal process would make future issues a possibility.

You are the best person to accomplish this, of course, so it is probably worth accepting the challenge if you can. But if you miss the deadline but improve the paper you will have other, future, options, with that journal (most likely) or another.

If you think you must miss the deadline ask for more information and an extension, preferably with your best estimate of when you can resubmit.

  • I think it depends on the publication. I can't speak for math, but in CS some expect revisions in 4 weeks, or longer, but I have seen the default be fairly rapid just like this case, especially for magazines. Usually an extension is easily obtained unless there is a hard deadline for a special issue or something. Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 4:28

Focus on the changes requested. If you can do them in the time given, you can just do them and the question why the editor plumbed for the one word rather than the other will just be one of those mysteries of life that is totally moot.

If what is requested will take more than 2 weeks, months even, you clearly do need to consult with the handling editor, who will be happy give you more time.

The default time lines are short because authors favour quick turn arounds and journals try to accommodate them.

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