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I am new to journal submissions. I have been working as a research assistant at the University in Sweden for 3 months. Yesterday, at 5:00pm I submitted a paper to Elsevier's Computers & Security. My paper was received and had the status "Submitted to Journal"

The next day at 6:00am I got an email that my paper had its status changed status to "With Editor". All of this is very new to me, and I do not understand that what this new status means. Does it mean that someone is working on my paper just now?

Can I infer the journal's view/reception of my paper from the speed of the status change?

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    Typically, after a paper is submitted to a journal through an online system, a member of the journal's editor board looks at the paper and determines which area editor should handle the paper. The individual area editors are experts in their particular areas and in the best position to select peer reviewers for the paper. It's likely that your paper has been assigned to a specific editor. – Brian Borchers Dec 13 '14 at 14:49
  • @BrianBorchers: You could make your comment an answer. – Dave Clarke Dec 13 '14 at 14:51
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    I don't think that you can take this any sign that the paper has been evaluated for quality. Assigning the paper to an area editor is something that can be done very quickly after just reading the title and abstract. I don't know what the procedures of this particular journal are, so I can't be certain, but I do't believe that there's anything abnormal about this. – Brian Borchers Dec 13 '14 at 14:56
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    @BrianBrown: You're definitely too nervous: depending on the field, and on the paper complexity, the review of a paper can take from several months to more than one year. So, don't hold your breath while waiting, and don't check every few minutes the status of your submission ;-) – Massimo Ortolano Dec 13 '14 at 15:19
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    You need to calm down. – Marc Claesen Mar 8 '15 at 17:58
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In electronic submission systems the manuscript (MS) is handled according to a certain work flow. When a MS is submitted it has to be assigned to an editor who will check, for example, if the MS is appropriate for the journal or adheres to journal "Instructions for Authors" (or equivalent). The editor will then either start to assign reviewers to your MS or pass it on to an Associate editor (equiv.) to do the same. Then several rounds follow that is beyond this post. Thus there are lots of steps that your MS will undergo and the system will signals some subset of all steps involved.

So the likely interpretation of your observed change in status is that the journal, possibly through some administrator, has assigned the MS to an editor for further processing. This does not necessarily mean much but it shows your MS is on its way forward in the journal work flow. The process of moving a MS to a new step can be done very quickly and will largely depend on the timing of the person doing the chore. In the journal where I am editor, there is a six day limit to move MS from submitted to an editor. Usually the move is made within 24 hours and shorter depending on when the MS is submitted and when the admin checks the newly submitted MS list.

Se also this Elsevier link

  • Just another question: is it possible that the paper will be rejected just after the status "Submitted to Journal"? – Brian Brown Dec 13 '14 at 15:03
  • I am not sure in your case but a manuscript can be rejected on the basis that it is not suitable or technically deficient before entering the review process but my guess is that this will still be an editor decision. Although the admin and the Editor-in-Chief can be the same person which may mean the admin rejects the manuscript. It all depends on how the journal has set up its work flow – Peter Jansson Dec 13 '14 at 15:08
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    I suppose a manuscript could be rejected without an editor's involvement if, for example, it was written in a language that the journal doesn't accept. – Andreas Blass Dec 13 '14 at 15:21
  • Can you write a tag wiki excerpt to clarify the scope of the journal-workflow tag you created for this question? Specifically, I am wondering when to use journal-workflow vs paper-submission. Thanks! – ff524 Dec 14 '14 at 1:13
  • @ff524: Happier now? – Peter Jansson Dec 14 '14 at 9:59

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