In an Elsevier journal, after some long time, I looked at the status of my paper on the tracking system and I realized that one of the two reviewers did not even accept the review invitation. One of the reviewer submitted the report.

Now, I see that the paper is in "Decision in process". Is that a bad sign? Can we say that the editor has seen the one negative report and decided to reject it?

Edit: I got a very harsh (and unjustified) referee report. This is why the editor decided with only one referee report.In this sense, the question was a logical one.

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    Why do you need to know? Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 19:59
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    "Can we say that the editor has seen the one negative report" What is "the one negative report"? How do you know that the report that was submitted is negative? Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 20:02
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    @VitaminE: This is certainly depends much more an the field than on the publisher. E.g. in pure maths it is very common to have only one reviewer. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 20:42
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    @JochenGlueck Well, my assumption is that Elsevier uses the same web application for all its journals. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 20:59
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    @VitaminE These systems are highly customizable, even though they have the same user interface. How many reviews are required depends on the journal. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


The editor has to make a decision and the decision has consequences for them as well as you. They don't have a lot of information on which to base a decision unless they happen to be knowledgeable in the field, which is certainly possible.

But with little information, they are likely to be a bit conservative in their decision making. If the one review is "meh" then it is a bad sign. If it is "marvelous", and they trust the reviewer, possibly having history with them, then it is a good sign.

Wait for a report back and respond appropriately when it does.

Even a paper with a "meh" review might be salvageable if the single reviewer suggests changes that would bring it up to something like "marvelous". Patience, grasshopper.


It is not uncommon to receive a decision based on a single reviewer report. I experienced this with several respectable publishers (e.g. Cambridge UP, SAGE). In your case all you need is patience.

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