I have a paper submitted to a journal of Elsevier.

From "Manuscript Submitted" to "with editor" took one day; then it was "with editor" for five days, and then "under review". One and a half months later, the status of the paper was still "under review", but the date of status has changed.

What can cause the date in the submission system to change in the absence of a change in status?

  • 2
    Unfortunately it means nothing.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 8:39
  • 4
    @Kurt no I understood your question. The causes range all the way from something interesting happened with the progress of your manuscript to they rebooted the server.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 8:42
  • 2
    I'd suggest you to write to the Elsevier support. Those status messages are quite opaque, and implementing a full "paper history" feature does not seem a daunting task. But if no one complains and submits bug reports, they will never have an incentive to change. If you know the editor or see him/her at a conference, you may consider pinging him/her about the issue, too. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 10:03
  • 2
    I know. And yet, from my experience (although not with Elsevier) it doesn't mean much. I doubt that your article was either accepted or rejected in five days (thus changing the status). It's probably a technical thing. If you're really nervous, just mail the editor or something, but take into consideration that an editor who gets mail like that feels like a parent with kids in the backseat asking "are we there yet?".
    – Gimelist
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 11:40
  • 4
    I've had a similar experience with a Springer journal. As far as I can tell, whenever editor manages to find a reviewer, status changes to under review. This date change might have happened because he might have found the other reviewer(s) recently. Hope that helps. @Kurt
    – SimpleMan
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 12:53

3 Answers 3


When a paper is assigned to a reviewer, the reviewer may decline or fail to review the paper. In this case the editor will assign the paper to a new reviewer. The status date will change at the day the new review was assigned, but the status will remain the same.

  • Thanks for your interest. But is the answer valid for my situation? I mean, would a reviewer decline to review a paper after one and a half month?
    – Yes
    Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 5:53
  • If it took that long, they probably just failed to submit a review. We cannot be sure what happened in your situation without more information. Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 14:11
  • 1
    sometimes reviewers agree to review, but then fail to actually do so, as AnonymousPhysicist says. It's also possible that it has been sent to multiple potential reviewers, each about a week apart, and each of the first few declined to review, so it was sent on to another reveiwer. Or that it was sent to thr first batch of reviewers and the editor was slow to invite a new batch when the first declined. Or possibly, the date changed when the 1st review was submitted and you are still waiting on a 2nd or 3rd review. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 22:10

For that you need to know how the journal system works. When status is "with editor" it doesn't always implies that the paper is not send for reviews. Because in journals the configuration of online submission system is such that if at least 2 or 3 reviewers have accepted the review request only then status will change to "under review". Also when status is "under review" and status date is changing then it means the reviewers have submitted his/her report in the system (which have led to change in status date). When at least 2 or 3 reviewers reports (this count is configured by the journal) are not come till then status won't change. If they come then status may change to "with editor" or "under editor evaluation" or "required reviews completed". Under these status also the status date may change which implies remaining reviewer(s) have also submitted their reports.


There could me multiple reasions for the status date to change:

  • Reviewer comments are added to the database
  • The reviewer changes
  • Editor checks the database

See this question: http://www.editage.com/insights/why-does-the-status-date-of-a-submission-change-periodically-though-the-status-remains-unchanged

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