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I recently submitted a manuscript to a well-known journal in my field. It is published by Wiley and Hindawi. I received a "major revision" decision based on two reviews. One of the reviewers uploaded the annotated manuscript (he made comments via the Word comment function) to give his comments. As such, I was able to see his name. I do not know this person but based on his scientific output he is big in a particular related sub-field. All comments were valid and easy to address. As such, I resubmitted a major revision within 3 days (working full-time). Then suddenly I received the message below. Based on the submission system, they are now looking for new reviewers.

Could you help me decipher the meaning of the message? Is it because I know about his identity (the review is supposed to be single-blind)? Is it because I was so fast and now they suppose something "must be wrong"? Any comments will be highly appreciated!!

" Dear Dr. X, I am writing regarding your manuscript xxx , entitled xxx. It is taking us longer than expected to send you an editorial decision for your manuscript. As standard practice, we perform rigorous peer review integrity checks as part of the editorial process. These checks can sometimes incur delays. We wanted to inform you that we are still working to send you an editorial decision as soon as possible. "

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    You did nothing wrong. Nothing prevents you to send your corrections in 3 days or ten minutes as long as you meet the deadline. Maybe the delay they mention its because of the reviewer, but you cannot know. Delays are usual. At least they tell you they are trying to respond as soon as possible. Also, you shouldn't worry about the integrity check. If something happens, they will let you know. But I cannot imagine a situation in which they reject your submission due to the issue you mentioned about the word comment function. You just have to wait. Nov 24, 2023 at 12:30
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    Dear FeedbackLooper: Thank you for your great comment! It helps me a lot. I am rather concerned that they suppose that I contributed to a violation of the single blind peer review. On the other hand, I just opened the file and I could not no that the reviewer uses his full name there. It is the first time I publish in that particular sub-field, so it will be visible that I am not tied to a particular reviewer.
    – Dr.M
    Nov 24, 2023 at 12:48
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    @FeedbackLooper That looks like an answer.
    – Anyon
    Nov 24, 2023 at 18:11

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Given the information you provided, I think that the integrity check and the message itself does not have any connection to you discovery.

You say that it is a high-quality journal. Since you had a major revision to do, maybe they just want to get an extra reviewer now to be perfectly sure. That seems like the most obvious reason.

And finding a new referee usually takes some time. They probably just mean well and want to set clear expectations about the final decision date.

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Hindawi and high quality haven't really gone together the past. My assumption (since they were relatively recently absorbed by Wiley) is that there is some effort to clean up the portfolio. It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. Maybe it was flagged because the reviewer's anonymity was compromised, or maybe they feel they need another reviewer for some other reason - you'd need to know the specific publisher and journal policies.

I would not worry about it. It sounds like they are trying to be transparent with their communication and thorough with their review.

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    @ sErISaNo Thank you for your comment. In my field, they have some pretty decent ranked journals but I know their reputation is overall not the best.
    – Dr.M
    Dec 1, 2023 at 16:05

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