I have submitted my manuscript to one of the top-tier journal in my field. The reviewers' feedback was positive in the first round of revision; one reviewer favoured the paper and asked for revisions while the second reviewer did not read it because I did not adhere to the target word count of the journal. The editor then asked me to make an R&R. I submitted my revision and 5 days after the resubmission the dashboard was converted into "awaiting EIC decision". The editor discussed the decision with one of his associates and then asked me to wait for a couple of days to render a final decision. He did not tell me that it would be sent out for a third review.

My question is that why the need for days to render a decision after discussing the reviewers' reports with the associate editor? Can anyone from the journal's editors explain this case?

Edit: The problem is that the status "awaiting for EIC decision" took around 15 days till I received an email from the editor that he was out of the disk and once he received on X day he would render a decision. At that day or the following day, he told me to have patience and waited for couple of days as he was discussing the reviewers' reports with his associate. My question is whether there was disagreement between the reviewers then he may assign another reviewer or what?

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    I don't think we have enough information to do more than guess. Maybe the editors don't quite agree and are still discussing it. Maybe someone wants to think more or look something up or ask the reviewers some questions. Maybe someone is busy or on vacation and doesn't have time to deal with it for a few days (for example, the editor in chief may have to approve). I wouldn't worry about it: a few days is not such a long delay, and I doubt there's anything you can do to find out the reason or influence the decision in the meantime. – Anonymous Mathematician Dec 13 '14 at 17:27
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    "My question is whether there was disagreement between the reviewers then he may assign another reviewer or what?" We don't know. We couldn't: you haven't identified yourself or the journal. (Which is not to say that you should but just to indicate that it is actually provably impossible for us to answer your question.) You have already been told that you are asking about a minor point of editorial workflow that even the few people who know the answer to your question are under no obligation to divulge. You have to let some things go; this ought to be an easy one. – Pete L. Clark Dec 14 '14 at 3:32

In general the editor makes choices as to how to best get a manuscript evaluated. If one reviewer did not return a review, it is only natural to ask for a new reviewer's opinion. The fact that the editor-in-Chief confers with another editor could mean that they confer whether or not the existing single review is sufficient.

As for time, I am not sure why you question a few days for a decision. Most editors do their work outside of normal departmental duties so finding time for discussing a particular manuscript can take some time and surely five days is not anything remarkable?

So from my view point, as Editor-in-Chief (of another journal), you seem to be very impatient and lacking insight in the everyday editorial business of a journal. I do not see anything strange about what has happened and I particularly do not see any reason for the editor to let you in to the internal work of the journal editorship.


Your edit contains the answer to your question: editors are people too, and sometimes delays happen because of that fact. This is less true for a "professionally edited" journal like Nature or Science, where there is likely to be a formal handoff of responsibilities between editors when one is unavailable. Most journals, however, are run by faculty volunteering their time as part of their service to their scientific community. If an editor is unavailable for a week or two, it is likely that everything in their queue will just wait until they return. And that's generally OK, because a week or two doesn't make a big difference in a multi-month process.

In your case, your edit states that the editor had a slipped disk. This is an incredibly painful medical condition that is probably screwing up their whole life while they get it dealt with. Compared to this, you and your paper are not a high priority, and you need to have some patience.

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    The OP wrote "he was out of the disk". I think this is probably a typo for "out of the desk", meaning that he was away from work. (Sometimes these questions require some nontrivial mind-reading. I was really scratching my head as to what "target word of the journal" could mean until ff524's edit.) Certainly I agree with the advice you give, especially "you need to have some patience". – Pete L. Clark Dec 14 '14 at 6:02
  • @PeteL.Clark My attempt at mind-reading involves interpreting "once he received on X day" as "once he received an X-ray", in the context of the out of disk. Perhaps O.P. can make it clearer... and perhaps this is a significant part of the problem in the first place. – jakebeal Dec 14 '14 at 6:10
  • Wow, that's funny. I was interpreting X as a variable. Maybe you're right! – Pete L. Clark Dec 14 '14 at 6:20

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